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FireworksIt’s been a long time coming, but this is the day!  As comes the time in most organizations, there’s a need for an upgrade. I’ve been blogging on WordPress.com for almost four years, and have also had my own website which I designed myself. I’ve also had some videos and podcasts in various places, but it’s all been scattered. Now, I’ve finally put it all together!

Behold! The new Resonare.com!

In the last few months, I’ve been working with Bob Sink of WebworksNYC on the design and the content (I cannot praise him enough publicly!) and I’m quite pleased with what we’ve accomplished, and hope you will be too!

Here’re the new features you’ll be able to find there:

Additionally, here are many other features that you can find and interact with all the ways that you connect Spirit, Passion and Career:

  • I’ve given a number of talks on podcasts, and you can link to them on the In The Media page, or listen to them directly on the Audio Archives page.
  • I’m known as a specialist in working with creative entrepreneurs, career changers, and the LGBT community.  Check out how I work with each of these special communities.
  • I’ve been lucky to have a number of people say good things about me, and you can read some of their comments on my Testimonials page.
  • People often want to take a “test” to tell them what they should do.  While you really have the answer inside you (and I just help dig it out), I do use a number of Assessments that help us figure out what’s important to you.
  • Want to know a little bit more about my journey to being a career professional, and how I tend to approach career development? Check out the About Ken and Philosophy pages.
  • On every page, there are links to my Twitter feed, Facebook Page, Google+ Page, YouTube Channel, and more.  And of course, if you see something, I do hope that you’ll share it with others.
  • The Meditate Mass 351 Challenge has its own page now.
  • Some of my most popular articles are now made easier to find in the Articles Menu. There are 35 of them in the subjects of Spirit, Passion, Productivity, Resumes, Networking, Job Search and Interviewing!

This new website will be a vehicle for me to showcase so many things about how to be more in touch with your calling, and how to make that manifest in the world. I have a lot of hopes and dreams that now I have a platform to make them happen.

So, what are your hopes and dreams? Go to

It’s been a long time coming, but this is the day!  As comes the time in most organizations, there’s a need for an upgrade. I’ve been blogging on WordPress.com for almost four years, and have also had my own website which I designed myself. I’ve also had some videos and podcasts in various places, but it’s all been scattered. Now, I’ve finally put it all together!

Behold! The new Resonare.com!

In the last few months, I’ve been working with Bob Sink of WebworksNYC on the design and the content (I cannot praise him enough publicly!) and I’m quite pleased with what we’ve accomplished, and hope you will be too!

Here’re the new features you’ll be able to find there:

Additionally, here are many other features that you can find and interact with all the ways that you connect Spirit, Passion and Career:

  • I’ve given a number of talks on podcasts, and you can link to them on the In The Media page, or listen to them directly on the Audio Archives page.
  • I’m known as a specialist in working with creative entrepreneurs, career changers, and the LGBT community.  Check out how I work with each of these special communities.
  • I’ve been lucky to have a number of people say good things about me, and you can read some of their comments on my Testimonials page.
  • People often want to take a “test” to tell them what they should do.  While you really have the answer inside you (and I just help dig it out), I do use a number of Assessments that help us figure out what’s important to you.
  • Want to know a little bit more about my journey to being a career professional, and how I tend to approach career development? Check out the About Ken and Philosophy pages.
  • On every page, there are links to my Twitter feed, Facebook Page, Google+ Page, YouTube Channel, and more.  And of course, if you see something, I do hope that you’ll share it with others.
  • The Meditate Mass 351 Challenge has its own page now.
  • Some of my most popular articles are now made easier to find in the Articles Menu. There are 35 of them in the subjects of Spirit, Passion, Productivity, Resumes, Networking, Job Search and Interviewing!

This new website will be a vehicle for me to showcase so many things about how to be more in touch with your calling, and how to make that manifest in the world. I have a lot of hopes and dreams that now I have a platform to make them happen.

So, what are your hopes and dreams? Go to http://resonare.com/a-new-day-for-resonare-com/ leave a comment!

 

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As a native Bostonian (or at least Bay Stater), I often meet people who are from another part of the country and state that Bostonians are cold and mean, unlike people from other parts of the country, and that I’m “different and not like them”. I counter that I’m exactly like the other natives here, but as I have to translate concepts so often in my work, I’m better able to articulate the differences to others in terms they understand. After a particularly interesting talk I ad on Friday (thanks David!), I figured that it world probably be best for me to put my thoughts on writing. This post is basically a continuation or further development of my post on Chilly New Englanders.

My main point is that New Englanders have good boundaries. Sometimes a little to recalcitrant and difficult to penetrate, but they are are a part of who we are. We’re pretty aware of others and when we’re being invited in, and when we’re bring intruded. We give people space and wait for them to give us a signal. This Is very different from the warm welcome that most people from the Southern US do automatically. A comment I heard from a Southerner is that they want to be seen as welcoming. From a Northerner’s perspective, it’s an invasion. We want to know who we’re talking to, and what connections there might be.  My mind goes back to a very old formality that used to be common: The Calling Card.

It used to be in ages past, if you were going into a new city or starting in a new community, you would bring a calling card with you that introduced you to people and it would be from someone that they already had a relationship with.  You then knew that this new person was one that you already had something in common with.  While it might have been one of “good breeding” back in those days, a big thing was that you could talk about the same things.

In our modern times, we have the same thing.  Think about Yelp, Amazon, or any of the major social media sites.  You can ask about a business, product, or person, and figure out what their reputation is.  You don’t just pick up any book, movie, restaurant menu, etc.  You’re usually looking to see if you have some connection to it.  Has this actor performed in something else you liked?  Does the owner of this restaurant own another one your friend ate at and liked?  In our world, we’re constantly looking for references.  Just in New England, we tend to still do it for social reasons.  Does this person also like the Red Sox?  Does she also knit?  Does he do genealogy?  We’re looking to see if we have something in common, so we know we’ve got a good likelihood of getting along.

So, where do you get your references?

Still Speaking Comma, United Church of Christ

A number of years ago, the United Church of Christ started a campaign called “Still Speaking” and it was inspired by a quote by Gracie Allen, who said “Never place a period where God has placed a comma.” The concept here is that there’s a whole bunch more to be learned in this world, and those that say we’ve heard it all and the “truth has been told”, never to be challenge, are missing a lot.  I’m not a UCC member, but I always respected that church and what they were trying to do to bring a little balance to the radical evangelicals who have been telling everyone who can hear that they have the answers and people should not trust their own experiences. <off soapbox>

This idea has really struck with me in a career development sense, especially as it relates to networking and building relationships.  I like to tell my clients that they should try to have every conversation that they have with people end in a comma, not a period.  Commas signify that there will be things still to come.  Periods signify that things have ended.  The goal for all professional (as well as personal!) relationships is that there is a future to be had, and you need to keep engaged in the conversation.

This is especially true when people are looking for a job.  A common mistake that I see is that people use a lot of period-ending questions, like “Do you have a job opening?”.  Most likely, the answer will be “No” and that ends the conversation.  If instead, you asked a comma-ending question like “I’m looking to find out more about Company X.  Where would you recommend that I look, or who could I talk to who can lead me to more information?”  That type of question will keep the conversation going, as there are more options, and it can take you in many different directions.

I would say that this tactic could be more helpful in all of our conversations, as it gives some breathing room to the person being asked (no one likes to say No all the time!) and it forces the question asker to be open to information that might not be what was expected.

So, what is your best comma-ending question you’ve used?

“A Tale from the Decameron,” by John William Waterhouse, 1916

One of the things that I’m always talking about is the need to be a story teller in your job search.  You always have to retell the stories of your past accomplishment, experiences, and adventures in the working world to people who weren’t there.  Otherwise, they would already know you and wouldn’t have to ask!

There are many ways to tell a story, and in the job search, it will come out in certain ways: in your resume, your cover letter, the interview, your tweets, your online portfolio, your Facebook wall, when I google your name, what someone else tells me about you, etc.  The thing is that you need to know your stories first before you know which format to put them in.  I find that a great number of my clients want me to help them with their resumes, but they don’t know what stories to tell.  As I see it, there are three levels of the story of you:

  1. You in Your Essence: On the highest possible level, who do you say you are, and what do you want people to think of you.  You can think of this in some way to be in line with your vision of yourself, but it could manifest itself in many ways.
  2. You in the Roles of Your Life: You as a college student is different from you in your current job.  You have the story of you in each of your jobs, in every volunteer leadership role, and you as the captain of your middle school basketball team. How do you want to be known in each of these?
  3. You in the Projects You’ve Accomplished: Within each of your roles, you done some projects.  Those projects might have been big (running a convention) or small (writing a press release) but they were all projects that had a beginning, middle, and an end.  These are the stories that are easy enough to tell and get your point across about how you can help others.

What I’ve found is that many people are trying to tell a story about them at their essence (I’m great! I have great skills!), but it’s so vague that it doesn’t come across as meaningful, interesting or compelling. It’s really only in the stories about the projects you’ve accomplished that you can really make an impression.  They build up to the areas of your essence and your roles. (For thoughts about how to tell your story, check out my post about Fairy Tales and telling your story.)

Granted, you will tell your stories differently depending on the audience, but that’s an entirely differently blog post.

So, do you know who you want to tell your stories to, and what stories you want to tell?

Ken at the Hamilton College Chapel, Clinton, NY, 3 June 2012

I just returned from my college reunion at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. I won’t tell you what number reunion it was for me, but I’ll just say it was “a big round number” as I like to call these things. We had about 30-35% of the graduating class back, and, while this is the third time I’ve been back to College Hill, it is the first time that I was there where I felt like I was fully present. I think that a lot of people step into sites that were scenes from earlier in their lives and they revert to the person they were there, and stop being the person they are now. I’ve done that in the past, and was working really hard to be present in the fullness of who I am now.

Ken rock climbing, Hamilton College, 2 June 2012

One thing that I think is the norm for any college reunion is drinking. I think I had more in 30 hours than I normally have in a month! I was lucky to be staying in campus housing so I didn’t have to drive anywhere. In some ways I think that is to numb yourself from feeling everything as well as to try to relive your old activities, and get away from the staid live of the present. I got to see a number of friends that I was close to while I was a student, including choir buddies (I sang most of my time there are was a

member of numerous singing groups), roommates (Eric, I swear I will go to Wellesley soon in the Meditate Mass 351 Challenge. Thanks for following!), suitemates (great to meet your family Dave!), and even people I never talked with while I was there. I even met someone who I never spoke with in my four years on campus to find he lives a little over a mile away and might be interested in my career consulting (yup, it’s a tax deduction right there!).  I even got to go rock climbing for the first time in my life.  They certainly never had that when I was on campus!

Tom’s Natural Foods, Cliinton, NY. The place where I first learned about natural foods.

I also tried to do some thing that are being true to me. There was a yoga class that I took, and I first did yoga on campus where I was the only student to an upperclass woman from Brazil. That, and the health food store in the village of Clinton were things that got me to think about health issues and set me up for the 26 years that I’ve been a vegetarian. These were the seeds that grew to make me who I am now.

A really new thing for me was that I got to attend a GLBT Alumni gathering. I was not out to myself then and very few people on campus were. Now they have a building where they have programming and are very visible on campus. In talking with a number of the current students, it sounds like it’s not always the easiest thing, it’s a lot different than my time. I also got to meet other GLBT alums and find out that there’s a GBLT Alumni group! It’s amazing to think of being all of myself there. (Note: another gay alumnus of Hamilton wrote a great article for the New York Times about his experiences at reunion, which mirrors a lot of what I’m saying here.)

There are three things that really struck me while I was there:

  • One of my fellow alums was there who really made an impression on me. I didn’t know her that well while I was on campus, but we knew each other enough to say hello and chat. She’s obviously had challenges in her life as she was walking with a walker and utilized an iPad to type out what she had to say that couldn’t be relayed in hand gestures. She was in yoga class with me, and was everywhere during the weekend. I know that she had some assistance, but she was very self determined and was definitely showing up fully as she is today. I didn’t get to speak with her much, but I did tell her she if a very strong woman.Thank you, Classmate, for your presence.
  • A friend of mine that I’m still connected on Facebook asked me what it was like being gay in college and if I was out, did I hide it from people, etc. She said it must have been very difficult and she felt badly that she couldn’t have done something to make it a better experience. This was totally unprompted and really made me feel cared for. It was something small, but made a big difference in my heart.Thank you, Friend, for your presence.
  • While I was not out in college, there was a guy who was. He was an athlete and well liked, and was really the first colleague that I had that was out. I didn’t have the words for it at the time, but I realize now that he was the first guy I had a crush on. Unbelievably, he was there and I got to say thank you to him for being out, and that it made a difference to me even though I didn’t come out then. He said it was awkward, but he knew that he had to do it. I wish I could have been that brave.Thank you, Role Model, for your presence.

I was working hard at being present and being me authentically while I was there. This is difficult in lots of situations, but by forcing myself to do that, I gained some strength and that I can be more me in any situation and can take that into my future.

So, are you being present even when it’s tough?

I am proud to announce that I have a new home base for seeing clients and holding workshops at the Theosophical Society of Boston, whose offices are at 21 Maple Street in Arlington Center.  It has generous parking, as well is on four different bus lines of the MBTA.

I will be able to see one-on-one clients in a quiet, cozy setting, but also have the availability to run more workshops, which you will be seeing more of in 2012.

To quote from the their website:

The Theosophical Society (TS) is a center of learning where people can explore, with freedom of thought and inquiry, many philosophies and spiritual practices. The TS offers a wide range of lectures, workshops, study groups, and meditation practices.
The goal of the programs presented at the TS is to promote ways in which all of us can communicate and cooperate with each other. As part of this goal, we:
  • seek universal truth;
  • honor and respect other spiritual points of view as well as those who hold them; and
  • recognize that each and every one of us are expressions of the same life and that our well-being is linked: whatever happens to one of us happens to all of us.

As anyone who reads this blog consistently knows, this philosophy is in line with what I espouse here on The Spirit-Work Connection. I’ll probably be providing some programming for them, as well as doing my other programs. They have lots of interesting programming there, so check it out!

While I’m thrilled to have a home base, I will continue to meet with clients via the phone, Skype, and in other locations convenient to all involved.

So, when will you be coming to see the new home?

20110913-092048.jpgAs I stated in my last post, most people don’t think about telling the stories of their lives in a compelling way that shows how what you’ve done makes a difference in the world. In this post, I’d like to give some help in how you can make your stories of your background more engaging to your target audience (You do have a target audience, right? It should be the hiring manager.)

Knowing my audience (namely you), I like to tell my stories in ways that you can relate to. As most people have had the experience of going to a movie, that’s the metaphor that I’m going to use. The job of the screenwriter is to write the story in a way that brings you in and keeps you engaged. That’s done in two ways:

First, when the movie starts, you (the viewer) are trying to figure out who the characters are, how they are related, where they are, what time period they are living in, etc. A good screenwriter supplies the CONTEXT in this first scene. It allows the viewer to relate the experiences of the characters to the viewer’s life.

  • You need to supply context of your background to the reader of your resume or the person you meet at a networking event (and especially in an interview). If you did something in a different city or in an obscure organization, you will need to supply the context so that the hiring manager will understand how what you did there relates to their needs. Easy ways to do that are with names they understand (such as “I worked in the Obama administration”. If you worked with Joe Bagadonuts and they don’t know Joe, it doesn’t help) and numbers (How many of those press releases did you write? How many people attended that event you organized?)

Second, imagine you’ve finished the movie and are walking home, and you can see the movie playing in your mind. You meet up with a friend and you tell the story again. If the screenplay was written well, you can do this.

  • You need your story to be VISUAL and REPEATABLE. Most people make their stories so boring and vague that people can’t see it. Imagine I were following you around with a video camera while you were doing your work. Would I see you “assisting the manager?”. That can mean just about anything. If you instead said that you “Compiled a report on the top 100 companies in the social media marketing field for inclusion in annual report”, that might get me to see a bit more of what you were doing.

When you start your job search, you are in charge of how you develop your character in the mind of the target audience. If you tell the story poorly, the audience will make up their own minds about who you are, and that might not be what you want them to think.

So, what story are you telling and are you the star of your own story?

20110908-095258.jpgI like to say that a major part of the job search process is storytelling. The exchange of ideas that happen in any search to find the right fit is going to involve stories from the point of view of the employer (e.g. Job descriptions, describing company culture, etc.) and the job searcher. You need to know what stories you want and need to tell (Hint: 5th grade science project is not a story you need to tell). You have many stories from you can tell, but you need to figure out which one are the important ones and then how to tell them in a compelling way.

I’ve found that although most of us have been listening to (and maybe telling) stories most of our lives, many people don’t know how to structure stories in a way that really is effective. I like to say that you should organize them in ways that people are familiar so that they don’t have to figure out the structure, but just focus on the content.

So, what form are people most familiar with across cultures?

Fairy Tales

Most fairy takes have a very basic structure that works well for job search purposes:

  1. Our Hero Enters the Scene: Usually there is a little back story to the story. What does the Hero see when entering? This is the Situation.
  2. Our Hero Has A Quest: Upon understanding the Situation, the Hero does something to change the situation. It can be a duel, a test, or something, but the Hero takes some Action to change the situation.
  3. Our Hero Leaves the Scene: Once done with the Action, the Situation has now changed. Hopefully it’s Happily ever after, but there is a Result.

When you are telling the story of any experience in your life, it’s as real as a fairy tale to the listener.  You have to let them know the Situation you walked into, what Action you took to change the situation, and what Result came from your action.  This is to show that you actually made a difference in your being there.

Hiring managers want to know how bringing you on can help them out, so you need to show that you’ve done this in the past.  If you can’t relate it to them, they won’t believe it. (Note: these stories will have to come across not only in your resume, but any online presence, your networking, your interviewing, etc.)

So, what stories do you have to tell, and is it something that will make a difference in my life?

I see a lot if people who send out volumes of resumes to posted jobs, and are frustrated that no one responds. “If they only realized how great I am!” I can hear them cry out in their souls. “Why don’t they give me a chance? I could be great!”

I’m here to explain the two main reasons why this doesn’t happen:

  • You are among hundreds of people who the hiring manager doesn’t know who haven’t explained clearly how you can help out relieve the hiring manager’s problems, and…
  • The hiring manager has no idea if you are a crazy maker, diva, problem child, etc. that will make the work environment a living hell for the duration if you’re hired.

This is not to say that you are any of the above, but the hiring manager wants to avoid that at all costs. (Think about the co-worker you have that drives you crazy and you wish would quit. Now imagine having to manage that person. You’re life would suck on so many levels.) If you’ve given me reason to know that you’re a capable and talented potential employee, then I’m more likely to take a chance on you.

How can you do that? Well, look at your own experience. When you have to make a decision on something that you are unsure of, what do you do?

Check your trusted references.

For you, that might be friends, certain magazines or websites that have good advice, etc. You need to find out where the hiring manager looks for references, and make sure you’re seen as competent there first before the hiring manager asks about you.

How to do that? Identify your targets first, do your research, and get out and talk to people. Much more effective than sitting in your pajamas and sending out dozens of resumes daily.

So, how are you getting known by the people who need to know you?

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve shared my favorite posting from across the web on how you can integrate spirituality with your career, so here’s what I’ve found recently!

 

So, What have you been noticing out there?

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

I am a career consultant who specializes in the connection between what your spirit wants to do in the world, and how to marry that to the work that you do in order to support yourself. While I work with people in all fields, I specialize in working with "creative entrepreneurs" and the LGBT community.

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