The Invisible Mentor http://theinvisiblementor.com Your ideal mentor is virtually in the palm of your hands Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:17:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Purdy Crawford – The Way to Do an Acquisition, Summer Series Interviews http://theinvisiblementor.com/purdy-crawford-way-acquisition-summer-series-interviews/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/purdy-crawford-way-acquisition-summer-series-interviews/#respond Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:12:37 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16669 Purdy Crawford – The Way to Do an Acquisition, Summer Series Interview This is the final interview from my book, Tales of People Who Get It that I committed to publish on the blog for the Summer Series Interviews. My intent is for you to learn from some of the interviewees, as well as introduce the interviewees […]

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Purdy Crawford – The Way to Do an Acquisition, Summer Series Interview

Purdy Crawford

Purdy Crawford – The Way to Do an Acquisition, Summer Series Interviews

This is the final interview from my book, Tales of People Who Get It that I committed to publish on the blog for the Summer Series Interviews. My intent is for you to learn from some of the interviewees, as well as introduce the interviewees to a new audience. This week, I feature Purdy Crawford, who reminds us of the importance of taking risks. Purdy Crawford recently died at age 82, but his wisdom lives on.

Related: 

Living an Authentic Life – Gabriel Draven, Summer Series Interviews
Leading Women toward Self-Sufficiency, Anthea Rossouw – Summer Interview Series
Pay Your Taxes – George Fraser, Summer Series Interviews
Building Relationships – Andrea Nierenberg, Summer Series Interviews
Samy Chong – Employees, Your Most Valuable Asset, Summer Series Interviews
Nanci Govinder – Downsizing Risks, Summer Series Interviews
Claire Hoy – Recovering from a Bankruptcy, Summer Series Interviews
Janice Lawrence-Clarke – Bringing a New Product to the Right Clients, Summer Series Interviews

In 2007, I published my book, Tales of People Who Get It, which is based on interviews with successful people. The Invisible Mentor blog was born of my book. Let’s take a step back in time to the fall of 2007, I had been thinking about ways to market Tales of People Who Get It and hoping for a burst of inspiration. While I was taking a walk in High Park in Toronto, it popped into my consciousness that Tales of People Who Get It was my Board of Invisible Mentors. What happened, without being aware of it, is that when I faced a problem, I would remember parts of interviews that I had conducted, and would know how to solve that problem. After conducting research, The Invisible Mentor blog was born, and five years later the concept of the invisible mentor has changed.

~Challenge~

I’ve had many business challenges over my long career in law and business, but, the biggest business challenge that I had was when I joined Imasco Limited as CEO in 1985 and we acquired Genstar in 1986 to get Canada Trust. The deal worked well, but it was a huge challenge because it was expensive, and risky if we hadn’t done the acquisition right.

~ Resolution~

We were successful in the acquisition by getting the right people to run it. We paid $2.5 million for it and sold it to TD Bank in 2002 for $8 billion.

~Lessons Learned~

  1. Have a broad view of things.
  2. Have a strategy on how you do things, execute the strategy with a passion and don’t be captivated by investment bankers.

~How to Integrate Your Personal and Professional Life~

It’s hard at times. We have six children and 15 grandchildren. We spend a lot of time with them, though I neglected them somewhat when they were quite young. We attend our grandchildren’s hockey and soccer games. Overall, I keep a reasonable perspective. We have a country place where the children come to, and we meet them there.

~Formula for Success~

To become successful you have to have a certain amount of intelligence, wisdom, good judgment, fire in your belly, read widely and have a broad perspective on issues.

~Major Regret~

A major regret is as a young lawyer not being tough enough with clients. I was too accommodating to some of my clients and may have compromised some of my opinions to make them happy.

~Favourite Quote~

I like “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you” from the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling because it teaches you not to panic and to stay in control when bad things happen. Don’t be impulsive and think that you have to do something. Sit in a room for a while and be quiet and let the world go by while you think about things.

Another quote that I like is by a famous European general in World War I and it relates to strategy in business. He said that Generals plan for months on the way they are going to fight the battle and then ten minutes into the battle plans are useless and those who have the most passion win. This quote is relevant to the business world because everyone talks about the importance of strategy, but I talk about the importance of execution.

~Influential Book~

I read many books, so this is very difficult for me to answer. I like Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. This book had a major impact on me because it is a biography of an incredible person whom I admire very much. At the age of 13, Alexander Hamilton ran a trading company in the Virgin Islands on behalf of a New York Trading firm, and at age 14 he immigrated to the United States. Former Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton fought in the Revolutionary War with George Washington, created the first financial structure in the United States, and understood the financial structures of the United Kingdom and France. The biography showcases Hamilton’s varied life, as well as painting a rich picture of the America that was emerging from the Revolutionary War.

Liked this post? Share it on social media and leave a comment as well as subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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What Makes a Book Great? http://theinvisiblementor.com/what-makes-a-book-great/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/what-makes-a-book-great/#respond Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:10:03 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16662 What Makes a Book Great? You have been told many times that the most successful people, the greatest leaders and innovators who ever lived, are/were voracious readers. Many of these accomplished people seldom disclosed the names of the books in their personal libraries because that was a private matter. However, there is no shortage of […]

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What Makes a Book Great?

What makes a book great

What makes a book great?

You have been told many times that the most successful people, the greatest leaders and innovators who ever lived, are/were voracious readers. Many of these accomplished people seldom disclosed the names of the books in their personal libraries because that was a private matter. However, there is no shortage of lists of the best books of all time to read, but many of those lists are very subjective. For instance, Amazon published a list of 100 Must-Read Books, and as a powerful and well-known organization, many will pay close attention to that list. I printed out the list and looked closely at each book included. As I was going through the list, I found myself asking, “Why is this book on the list?” For me, several of the books on the 100 Must-Read Books had not stood the test of time, and more than one generation has not enjoyed them. The other question that I asked myself, “Does a must-read book have to be a great book?” My answer to myself is “No.”

So, if you do not have access to the names of the books in the personal libraries of the most successful people, and you want to emulate their reading habits, how can you determine what are the right books to read? Successful people cherish certain books because of the ideas and lessons they have, and they do not simply read these books, they digest the information, contemplate, and apply the lessons. They actively read the great books which make them think. We know that great books make you think, but what makes a book great? This is an important question because you need criteria to judge the greatness of books before you read them if you are reading to shape your mind. I have read several “great” books and did not enjoy them because I could not relate to them – they did not speak to me as an individual so I think that is also important.

Related Posts:

Adventures in Learning: Life Lessons from the Great Books
Classic Education: The Essential Value
The Personal Library of George Washington
Why read, what to read, and Teddy Roosevelt
The Personal Library of Carl Sandburg

In two of the courses that I have taken – Books That Have Made History: Books That Can

Change Your Life and Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: The Essential Value of a Classic Education – for my informal liberal arts education, two professors – J Rufus Fears and Jeffrey Brenzel, give us insights into what makes a book great. Additionally, Professor Arnold Weinstein defines what is a classic book? Their definitions give us a starting point to decide which books are great and which are the right old books to read.

According to Professor Fears, a great book has the following three essential qualities:


  1. Great theme. A great book is concerned with themes and issues of enduring importance.

    1. The meaning of life
    2. Truth
    3. Duty and responsibility
    4. Law, government, and social justice
    5. Love, jealousy, and hate
    6. Courage, honor, and ambition
    7. Beauty
    8. Nature
    9. History and the past
    10. Education
  2. Noble language. Great books are written in noble language, language that elevates the soul and ennobles the mind. It is not the specific language, say Latin or English that is noble. Any language can be used in such a way that it conveys ideas and emotions powerfully and memorably.

  3. Universality. A great book is “a possession for all time” (Thucydides). It speaks across the ages, reaching the hearts and minds of men and women far removed in time and space from the era and circumstances in which it was composed. Thus, a great book summarizes the enduring values and ideas of a great age and gives them as a legacy for generations to come.”

Dean Jeffrey Brenzel’s 5 Criteria or Marks of a Great Book

  1. “So first, the work addresses permanent concerns about the human condition.  From a philosophical perspective, it has something to say about the way we should live.  From a literary perspective, it has something to say about imagining the possibilities for how we could live and from a historical perspective it tells us how we have lived.  That’s mark number one of a classic.

  2. Mark number two is that the work has been a game-changer.  It has created profound shifts in perspective and not only for its earliest readers, but for all the readers who came later as well.

  3. Mark number three is that the work has stimulated or informed or influenced many other important works, whether directly or indirectly.

  4. Mark number four is that many generations of the best readers and the most expert critics have rated the work highly, one of the best or most important of its kind, even if those experts and readers shared no other views than that and even if they violently disagreed with the work.

  5. Mark number five is that the work usually requires a strenuous effort to engage and understand, but it also rewards the hard work strongly and in multiple fashions.”

In the description for Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature by the Great Courses for what is a classic:

  1. “A classic novel has the ability to present the world as a more energetic, vibrant, and unpredictable place than we ever imagined.

  2. Classic novels open our eyes to the true nature of our world, and take us across the divide that separates mind from mind.

  3. They reveal to us our essential humanity, both its beauty and its horror, and hold the mirror up to our unknown selves.”

The essence is the same for the three definitions of great and classic books. With practice, the definitions will allow us to judge books for ourselves to determine their greatness. Great books have great ideas and lessons that will help to shape our minds if we engage with them. At this point, I would like to say that although I did not like the delivery of the course Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life, I loved and enjoyed the content because Professor J Rufus Fears raised some interesting points during the course. One point I would like to address that had never occurred to me before is that great books influence people in different ways – good and bad.

Take Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler, who both had classic education, reading the great books. The two despots particularly loved The Prince by Italian diplomat and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. In fact, Hitler loved the content of The Prince so much that he kept it by his bedside. Hitler’s concentration was responsible for the deaths of six million people and Stalin’s labor camp was responsible for the deaths of 20 million people. On the other hand, many have read the great books and did not perform such evil acts. This tells me that great books teach us valuable lessons, but it is up to us how we apply the lessons. The lessons we learn from great books can transform us into wise people or into fools.

What makes a book great? What criteria do you use to judge whether a book is great or not? Liked this post? Share it on social media and leave a comment as well as subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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The Personal Library of George Washington http://theinvisiblementor.com/personal-library-of-george-washington/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/personal-library-of-george-washington/#respond Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:18:16 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16657 The Personal Library of George Washington I decided that I wanted to do a series on the personal libraries of successful people because I thought they would give me insights into the shaping of a mind. As you already know, this website is about invisible mentoring, which is learning from unique leaders by observing and […]

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The Personal Library of George Washington

George Washington

The Personal Library of George Washington

I decided that I wanted to do a series on the personal libraries of successful people because I thought they would give me insights into the shaping of a mind. As you already know, this website is about invisible mentoring, which is learning from unique leaders by observing and imaging their wisdom and good traits. That also means consuming the books that they consumed and doing that requires knowing what books they had in their personal libraries. I figured that a good place to start was with successful people who are well known.

Related Posts

Why read, what to read, and Teddy Roosevelt

The Personal Library of Carl Sandburg

Now, having said that, have you ever had an idea that you believed was easy to execute that did not turn out that way? Doing a series on the personal libraries of successful people is a good idea, but not very easy to execute. I found a website, Library Thing that includes legacy libraries, but the way that it is structured does not adequately satisfy my needs. For instance, I wrote a post on the personal library of Carl Sandburg, however on his page on the Library Thing website, there are over 10,000 books listed. This is not helpful to me for what I am trying to do because I do not have the time to scroll through and read the titles of over 10,000 books. They have an algorithm that randomly selects seven books, but to me that simply is not enough for someone who is trying to get a sense of the books that a successful person reads.

Through a series of searches, I discovered the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. George Washington was the first president of the United States so this was an excellent find. In several articles, there was a reference, “Mount Vernon currently owns 103 volumes, representing 62 of the approximately 1,200 titles that were owned by Washington,” which made me think that if I could list the 62 titles, that would be good enough for my blog post. By reading through the articles, and spending time on the Fred W. Smith National Library website, I was able to list 10 of those books. But that was not good enough for me so I decided to call the library, and I got exactly what I needed.

62 of the Books in the Personal Library of George Washington

  1. Acts passed at a Congress of the United States of America, begun and held at the city Wednesday the fourth of March, in the year M, DCC, LXXXIX (1790) and of the independence the thirteenth. Being the acts passed at the first.
  2. The Adventures Of Gil Blas Of Santillane: A New Translation, By The Author Of Roderick Random by Alain-René Le Sage
  3. The Adventures Of Telemachus, The Son Of Ulysses (1784). From the French of Salignac de La Mothe­Fenelon by John Hawkesworth
  4. American Biography: Or, an Historical Account of Those Persons Who Have Been Distinguished in America, as Adventurers, Statesmen, Philosophers, Divines, Warriors, Authors, and Other Remarkable Characters .. (Paperback) – Common by Jeremy Belknap
  5. The American museum or repository of ancient and modern fugitive pieces, prose and poetical by Matthew Carey
  6. An analytick treatise of conick sections, and their use for resolving of equations in determinate and indeterminate problems. Being the posthumous de L’Hospital, … Made English by E. Stone. Marquis de L’Hospital
  7. The beauties of Sterne; including all his pathetic tales, & most distinguished observations on life. Selected for the heart of sensibility. The third edition, with considerable additions. by Laurence Sterne
  8. The beauties of Swift: or, the favorite offspring of wit & genius. by Jonathan Swift
  9. The beauties of the late Revd. Dr. Isaac Watts; … To which is added the life of the author. by Isaac Watts
  10. The Bee, or Literary Intelligencer by James Anderson
  11. The Botanical magazine; or Flower­garden displayed: in which the most ornamental foreign plants, cultivated in the open ground, the green­house, and the store, are accurately represented in their natural colours.
  12. Cadmus, or, A treatise on the elements of written language: illustrating, by a philosophical division of speech, the power of each character, thereby mutually fixing the orthography and orthoepy : with an essay on the mode of teaching the surd or deaf, and consequently dumb, to speak (1793)
  13. A charge, delivered at St. Peter’s Church, in Salem: to the Most Antient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, upon the festival of St. John, the Evangelist, December 27th, 5780 by Joseph Hiller
  14. A charge, delivered at Trinity Church in Boston, December 27, 1780. Being the anniversary of St. John the Evangelist; to the most worshipful Grand Lodge of antient free and accepted Masons, for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by Keith Israel
  15. The Diary of the Late George Bubb Dodington, Baron of Melcombe Regis: From March 8, 1749, to February 6, 1761; With an Appendix, Containing Some From His Lordship’s Original Manuscripts.
  16. Discourses relating to the evidences of revealed religion, delivered in the Church of the Universalists, at Philadelphia, 1796, and published at the request of many of the hearers by Joseph Priestley
  17. El Imgenioso Hildago Don Quixote de la Manche by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  18. The elements and practice of rigging and seamanship Illustrated with engravings by David Steel
  19. Encyclopaedia; or, A dictionary of arts, sciences, and miscellaneous literature; constructed on a plan, by which the different sciences and arts are digested into the form of distinct treatises of systems by Thomas Dobson, Colin MacFarquhar, and George Gleig
  20. An enquiry into the principles of taxation, chiefly applicable to articles of immediate Consumption by Andrew Hamilton
  21. Essays and Notes on Husbandry and Rural Affairs by John Beale Bordley
  22. An eulogium of the brave men who have fallen in the contest with Great Britain: delivered on Monday, July 5, 1779 by HH Brackenridge
  23. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (Oxford World’s Classics) by Tobias George Smollett
  24. Experiments on the red and quill Peruvian bark; with observations on its history, mode of operation, anduses by Ralph Irving
  25. General view of the agriculture of the county of Lancaster: with observations on the means of its improvement; drawn up for the consideration of the Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement, from the communications of Mr. John Holt and the additional remarks of several respectable gentlemen and farmers in the county
  26. The gleaner. A miscellaneous production by Judith Sargent Murray
  27. Gospel news, divided into eleven sections. Peace and Joy: Being a Brief Attempt to consider the Evidences of Evidences of the Truth of the Gospel, in which we have the witness of Peace with God, through Jesus Christ, drawn from the Old and New­Testaments by Shippie Townsend
  28. Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane by Alain René Le Sage
  29. The History and Adventures of the Renowned Don Quixote. Translated from the Spanish of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra by T. Smollett, M.D.
  30. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Penguin Classics) by Edward Gibbon
  31. A history of the earth and animated nature by Oliver Goldsmith
  32. The jilts: or, Female Fortune Hunters (The jilts: or, female fortune-hunters. … Volume 1 of 3, The jilts: or, female fortune-hunters. … Volume 2 of 3, The jilts: or, female fortune-hunters. … Volume 3 of 3)
  33. Le jardinier solitaire the solitary or Carthusian gard’ner, being dialogues between a gentleman and a gard’ner. Containing the method to make and cultivate all sorts of gardens; Written in French by Francis Gentil
  34. Letters written by the late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, to his son, Philip Stanhope, … Published by Mrs. Eugenia Stanhope
  35. Letters, being the whole of the correspondence between the Honorable John Jay, and Mr. Lewis Littlpage; a young man whom Mr. Jay, when in Spain, patronized and took into his family
  36. Lexicon technicum magnum, or An universal English dictionary of arts and sciences by John Harris
  37. Lily’s rules construed: where unto are added Tho. Robinson’s Heteroclites the Latinsyntaxis, also there are added the rules for the genders of nouns and preterperfect tenses and supines of verbs, in English alone by William Lily
  38. Loose hints upon education : chiefly concerning the culture of the heart by Lord Henry Home Kames
  39. The lyric works of Horace, translated into English verse: to which are added, a number of original poems. By a native of America. [Two lines of Latin quotation]. translated by John Parke
  40. A map of the most inhabited part of New England containing the provinces of Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, with the colonies of Konektikut and Rhode Island by Thomas Jefferys
  41. Maredant’s antiscorbutic drops: a caution to the public in general, but more particularly to merchants, captains of ships, and those concerning trade to the East or West Indies, etc. by John Norton
  42. A new and complete dictionary of arts and sciences comprehending all the branches of useful knowledge, … Illustrated with above three hundred copper­plates, … The whole extracted from the best authors in all languages by Society of Gentlemen
  43. A new system of modern geography: or, A geographical, historical, and commercial grammar; and present state of the several nations of the worldincluding Atlas
  44. An oration delivered at Watertown, March 5, 1776. To commemorate the bloody massacre at Boston: perpetrated March 5, 1770. By Peter Thacher, A.M. [Seven lines in Latin from Phaedrus] by Peter Thacher
  45. An oration delivered July 4, 1786: at the request of the inhabitants of the town of Boston, in celebration of the anniversary of American independence. by Jonathan Loring Austin
  46. An oration, delivered March 6, 1780. At the request of the inhabitants of the town of Boston; to commemorate the bloody tragedy of the fifth of March, … Mason, Jun. [Sixteen lines from Thompson]. by Jonathan Mason
  47. An oration, which might have been delivered to the students in anatomy, on the late rupture between the two schools in this city Francis Hopkinson
  48. An oration: delivered before a lodge of Free and Accepted Masons: in the church at Providence, Rhode Island, on Monday twenty-eighth of December, 1778
  49. The poems of Ossian, the son of Fingal by James Macpherson and Hugh Blair (Editor)
  50. Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect by Robert Burns
  51. Principles of Navigation
  52. The private life of Lewis XV In which are contained the principal events, remarkable occurrences, and anecdotes, of his reign. Translated from the French by J. O. Justamond
  53. The Sentimental and masonic magazine
  54. A short introduction to grammar compiled and set forth for the bringing up of all those that intend to attain to the knowledge of the Latin tongue. by William Lily
  55. Stephens’s Philadelphia directory for 1796, or, Alphabetical arrangement: containing the names, occupations, and places of abode of the citizens : with a register of the executive, legislative, and judicial magistrates of the United States by Thomas Stephens
  56. The Tea-Table Miscellany, Or, a Collection of Choice Songs, Scots and English by Allan Ramsay
  57. Travels in North America in the years 1780, 1781 and 1782; 2 vol by François Jean Chastellux
  58. Travels into Norway, Denmark, and Russia, in the years 1788, 1789, 1790, and 1791 by John Swinton
  59. Travels, in various parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, during a series of thirty years and upwards. By John MacDonald, by John Macdonald
  60. A view of society and manners in France, Switzerland, and Germany: with anecdotes relating to some eminent characters by John Moore
  61. Voyages de M. le marquis de Chastellux dans l’Amérique Septentrionale: dans les années 1780, 1781, & 1782 by François Jean Chastellux
  62. The works of the right reverend father in God, Thomas Wilson, D.D., Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man

When I reviewed the list of books above, what struck me most, is the diversity in the kinds of books that George Washington read – politics, biographies, essays, speeches, diaries, correspondence, travel and exploration, economics, science, history, geography, religion and more. And that is consistent with what I discovered when I interviewed successful people for my book, Tales of People Who Get It, and other research I have conducted since my book was published. Many of these books may be difficult to access and you may not interested in reading some of the books in Washington’s library. Another option for you is to read books that are similar, so you could read a book about the best speeches of all times, and biographies, letters and diaries of accomplished and notable people. The most important thing is to pay attention to the types of books that George Washington read.

It is worth noting that the books listed above are not all of the books that George Washington had in his personal library, but the ones that the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington owns. If you want a complete listing of the books, you can find them on Washington’s page on the Library Thing website.

Liked this post? Share it on social media and leave a comment as well as subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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Janice Lawrence-Clarke – Bringing a New Product to the Right Clients, Summer Series Interview http://theinvisiblementor.com/janice-lawrence-clarke-bringing-new-product-right-clients-summer-series-interview/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/janice-lawrence-clarke-bringing-new-product-right-clients-summer-series-interview/#respond Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:47:41 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16648 Janice Lawrence-Clarke – Bringing a New Product to the Right Clients, Summer Series Interview Once a week during July and August, I am featuring one of the interviews from my book,  Tales of People Who Get It, and post it on the blog so that you may learn from some of the interviewees, as well as introduce […]

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Janice Lawrence-Clarke – Bringing a New Product to the Right Clients, Summer Series Interview

Janice Lawrence-Clarke

Janice Lawrence-Clarke – Bringing a New Product to the Right Clients, Summer Series Interview

Once a week during July and August, I am featuring one of the interviews from my book,  Tales of People Who Get It, and post it on the blog so that you may learn from some of the interviewees, as well as introduce the interviewees to a new audience. This week, I feature Janice Lawrence-Clarke, who reminds us that our products and services must align to the right customers and clients. Learn how she successfully repositioned her services.

Related: 

Living an Authentic Life – Gabriel Draven, Summer Series Interviews
Leading Women toward Self-Sufficiency, Anthea Rossouw – Summer Interview Series
Pay Your Taxes – George Fraser, Summer Series Interviews
Building Relationships – Andrea Nierenberg, Summer Series Interviews
Samy Chong – Employees, Your Most Valuable Asset, Summer Series Interviews
Nanci Govinder – Downsizing Risks, Summer Series Interviews
Claire Hoy – Recovering from a Bankruptcy, Summer Series Interviews

In 2007, I published my book, Tales of People Who Get It, which is based on interviews with successful people. The Invisible Mentor blog was born of my book. Let’s take a step back in time to the fall of 2007, I had been thinking about ways to market Tales of People Who Get It and hoping for a burst of inspiration. While I was taking a walk in High Park in Toronto, it popped into my consciousness that Tales of People Who Get It was my Board of Invisible Mentors. What happened, without being aware of it, is that when I faced a problem, I would remember parts of interviews that I had conducted, and would know how to solve that problem. After conducting research, The Invisible Mentor blog was born, and five years later the concept of the invisible mentor has changed.

~Challenge~

I designed The Incubator 2005, a Sales and Marketing program for fashion and accessory designers who currently produce and sell to US stores and were ready to take the next step toward a larger presence in the market. Through a combination of fashion consulting, market development, advertising and sales representation, these designers would be able to present their merchandise at trade events before retail buyers with purchasing power. I calculated the costs and determined that with a minimum of five participants the program could be properly implemented while being affordable for each company. The designers loved the program, but were not financially prepared to take that step. I realized that I was speaking or selling my service to the wrong market segment, so I had to clearly identify my market and repackage the program.

~Resolution~

I reworked the entire program, creating three phases for a broader base appeal, thereby increasing the ability to address the designer/manufacturer at different levels in their businesses.

Specifically, I had to:

  1. Determine services for those designers who were relatively new to the market:
    1. Focus on building their collection
    2. Source production facilities
    3. Source manufacturing facilities
    4. Act as a broker to find investors who had the facilities and sought fashion designers with a collection or line to produce
  2. Provide public relations services for those designers who have been in business, but needed help in getting the word out about their company, or who may be wanting to present a line to the market
  3. Secure showroom space to present collections to buyers during the selling season, I also developed strategic relationships with some specialty stores to test certain designers’ collections.

~Lessons Learned~

  1. It is advantageous to line up the right product or service to the right market. Even though you may think that you have a brilliant idea or program, you need to do research to ensure that your product/idea is solid for the people to whom you’re selling
  2. Be prepared to accept that people may not be as ready as you are to move forward or to take leaps of faith
  3. You must be willing to start from scratch and be willing to take less of a fee when introducing a new concept
  4. It helped me to zero in on what my services are, and who my target market is. My success depends on the success of others. I learned to zero in and treat myself as one of my clients. (Sounds like the Business Plan, doesn’t it?)

~How to Integrate Your Personal and Professional Life~

It’s all about proper time management. We have one life and things constantly overlap. I am a mother, very active in my church, and some church members are my clients. My daughter is a teenager, and she helps me in my business whenever it is necessary. Above all I rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance, and have learned to say “No” when I have to do so. It’s important to know when to say “No.”

~Formula for Success~

It is best to be spirit-led. You find God’s will for your life, and you perform that will. You allow Him, to work through you, knowing that once you are in His will, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Never give up, no matter what it looks like, nor what the nay saying well-wishers may say. According to my pastor, Creflo Dollar, “Passion is the fuel of success,” that means to me, that I must be passionate about whatever I set about to do, do it as if I’m doing it for God and not for man, and I will succeed. And that message translates to any situation, whether it is self-employment or out in the work field or just being a friend… any and all areas of life. Above all, stay focused on God and do not listen to naysayers.

~Major Regret~

My major regret is allowing well-wishers to hold more sway over what I did and knew in my heart. Had I stuck to what I knew and believed, I would have been further ahead. Before these days, I did not have the wisdom or strength to realize that I was on my path and should have stayed focused.

~Favourite Quote~

I like “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13 because it is true! I’m a living witness. Now that I know this, there is nothing that anyone can tell me that I cannot do.

~Influential Book~

It has to be The Successful Family: Everything You Need to Know to Build a Stronger Family, by Dr. Creflo A. Dollar and Taffi L. Dollar. This book, together with The Holy Bible, has opened my eyes and showed me how to live as a true Christian woman, as well as how to raise my child. It outlines practical ways to live a happy, healthy and prosperous life while building great relationships. It has had, and continues to have a great impact on my life.

Liked this post? Share it on social media and leave a comment as well as subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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Advice to Writers from Top Writers http://theinvisiblementor.com/advice-to-writers-from-top-writers/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/advice-to-writers-from-top-writers/#respond Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:30:42 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16638 Advice to Writers from Top Writers Although the Creative Writing course that I took as a part of my informal liberal arts education was not what I expected, there were several pieces of advice that I found useful. After listening to the first session, I abandoned the course, but my instincts kept on telling me […]

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Advice to Writers from Top Writers

Advice to Writers from Top Writers

Advice to Writers from Top Writers

Although the Creative Writing course that I took as a part of my informal liberal arts education was not what I expected, there were several pieces of advice that I found useful. After listening to the first session, I abandoned the course, but my instincts kept on telling me to return to it so I listened. Taking courses as a part of my informal learning has stretched my beliefs regarding what a course is supposed to be. The creative writing course consists of videos and audios of top authors and poets distilling their wisdom into segments of eight to eighteen minutes. If you took the Creative Writing course, I can guarantee that you would extract different tips from the ones that I am presenting today.

Advice to Writers

Use short sentences to speed up your story and long ones to slow it down. John Irving

Picture your story in mind and have a composite. Have a goal in mind and know the end. John Updike

Writing a novel is like constructing a house, you need structural integrity. You have to know what the book is about and what you are trying to achieve. Arthur Golden

Information does not replace illumination. Nadine Gordimer (My review of July’s People by Nadine Gordimer)

Get to the real story. It’s not about the truth, it’s about the story. Everyone tells the story differently. Move sideways and stay open to the changes that are happening to you. Nora Ephron (My review of Heartburn by Nora Ephron)

A writer is an inventor of other worlds. Gore Vidal

What do you need to be better? Do not repeat yourself. Set the bar higher each time. Toni Morrison

Never write anything that another person has written, or what you have written before. Everything happens once – you were born once! WS Mervin

If you are not doing only what you can do, you will find yourself being miserable. Link your imagination and compassion for the things that you care about. WS Mervin

Define yourself and do not allow others to define you. N Scott Momaday

The reward is the knowledge of training others. Wole Soyinka

Those who excel, stand on the shoulders of giants.

  1. Entertain your far out ideas.
  2. When you get an award, you have been called to be kinder and more compassionate in the world.
  3. Question authority.
  4. Do not worry about being cool.
  5. Practice radical inclusion.
  6. Each one teach one.
  7. Lift others up.
  8. Enjoy the trip.

Suzan Lori Parks

You need a good title, good cover, and a powerful first sentence for your book. Alexander McCall Smith

The goals of intentionality are important. Be clear about what you intend to do – what you are trying to accomplish. So set goals, have an intention, and talk to your “elephant”. Michael Crichton

As a writer, you have to be able to take criticisms, and you have to commit to being a writer. Sue Grafton

Find joy in life and only do what you want to do. Khaleed Hosseini

Some of the advice offered by top writers are not only for writers, they apply to other crafts and specialties. Liked this post? Share it on social media and leave a comment as well as subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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The Personal Library of Carl Sandburg http://theinvisiblementor.com/personal-library-of-carl-sandburg/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/personal-library-of-carl-sandburg/#respond Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:12:06 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16630 The Personal Library of Carl Sandburg When it comes to reading books, quality always trumps quantity because the right books have the capacity to shape your mind and thinking. I have often wondered why people become successful, what books do they read that influence their thinking and perhaps catapult them to success? A few weeks […]

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The Personal Library of Carl Sandburg

When it comes to reading books, quality always trumps quantity because the right books have the capacity to shape your mind and thinking. I have often wondered why people become successful, what books do they read that influence their thinking and perhaps catapult them to success? A few weeks ago while conducting research on the personal libraries of successful people, I discovered legacy libraries. I was very happy with my discovery because I wanted to do a series on the topic for this blog. I started off the series a few weeks ago with Theodore Roosevelt’s library. The intent of the series is to read the books that accomplished people have read to get a sense of how they attained professional success.

Carl Sandburg

The Personal Library of Carl Sandburg

Carl August Sandburg was a journalist by trade. He is best known for his poetry, however, he also wrote biographical sketches and American fairy tales. Born on January 6, 1878 in the state of Illinois, Sandburg developed an understanding of the American experience as he roamed the country for close to 50 years with his guitar, singing American folk songs, reports Penelope Niven (American Poets, 1880-1945: Third Series. Ed. Peter Quartermain. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 54. Detroit: Gale Research, 1987.) As he travelled, he found his subject to write about in the landscape and the American people, and he wrote in a way that the ordinary person could understand. Travelling across the United States also helped to shape his political views.

As a very successful writer whose career spanned decades, Sandburg had a large body of work that he left behind – some of which is listed below – so it is worth looking at the books that he had in his personal library. He was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes - the four-volume Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (1939) won the Pulitzer Prize in history, and his Complete Poems (1950) received the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. 

There are over 10,000 books listed on his page on the legacy libraries website, so he had an extensive library. But I am not sure how many of those books he actually read.

Writings by Carl Sandburg

Selected Books

  1. In Reckless Ecstasy, as Charles A. Sandburg (Galesburg, Ill.: Asgard Press, 1904).
  2. Incidentals, as Charles Sandburg (Galesburg, Ill.: Asgard Press, 1907).
  3. The plaint of a rose, as Charles Sandburg (Galesburg, Ill.: Asgard Press, 1908).
  4. Joseffy: An appreciation, as Charles Sandburg (Galesburg, Ill.: Asgard Press, 1910).
  5. Chicago Poems [1916] (New York: Holt, 1916).
  6. Cornhuskers (Illustrated) (New York: Holt, 1918).
  7. The Chicago Race Riots: July, 1919, July, 1919 (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Howe, 1919).
  8. Smoke and Steel (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Howe, 1920).
  9. Slabs of The Sunburnt West (1922) (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1922).
  10. Rootabaga Stories (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1922).
  11. Rootabaga Pigeons (Rootabaga Stories) (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1923).
  12. Abraham Lincoln The Prairie Years (2 Volumes) (Volume I and Volume II) (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1928).
  13. Selected Poems, edited by Rebecca West (London: Cape, 1926; New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1926).
  14. Carl Sandburg, edited by Hughes Mearns (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1926).
  15. Good Morning America (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1928).
  16. Steichen the Photographer (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1929).
  17. Potato Face.(New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1930).
  18. Early Moon (Voyager/HBJ Book) (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1930).
  19. Mary Lincoln: Wife and Widow by Sandburg and Paul Angle (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1932).
  20. The People, Yes (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1936).
  21. Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, 4 volume set (complete) (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1939).
  22. Storm Over the Land: A Profile of the Civil War: Taken Mainly From Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1942; London: Cape, 1943).
  23. Home Front Memo (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1943).
  24. The Photographs of Abraham Lincoln, by Sandburg and Frederick Hill Meserve (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1944).
  25. Remembrance Rock (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1948).
  26. Lincoln Collector: The Story of Oliver R. Barrett’s Great Private Collection (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1949).
  27. The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg: Revised and Expanded Edition (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1950; revised and expanded edition, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970).
  28. Always the Young Strangers (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1953); republished in part as Prairie-Town Boy (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1955).
  29. Sandburg Range (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1957).
  30. Harvest Poems: 1910-1960 (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1960).
  31. Wind Song (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1960).
  32. Honey and Salt (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1963).
  33. The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and Who Was in It (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967).
  34. Breathing Tokens, edited by Margaret Sandburg (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978).
  35. Ever the Winds of Chance: POEMS, edited by Margaret Sandburg and George Hendrick (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1983).

Randomly Selected Books from the Personal Library of Carl Sandburg

The legacy libraries’ website uses an algorithm to randomly select books from Carl Sandburg’s personal library and these are the books it selected. It is worth visiting the website to get a sense of the types of books that are in the personal library of Carl Sandburg. I know that space is at a premium on a website, but I would have found it more helpful if the algorithm selected more than seven books. When someone has over 10,000 books in a personal library, seven books are a drop in the bucket.

  1. Alden’s Cyclopedia of Universal Literature, Presenting Biographical and Critical Notices and Specimens from the Writings of Eminent Authors of All Ages and All Nations, Vol. 2 (Classic Reprint) by John B. (John Berry)  Alden
  2. Batouala (African Writers Series) by René Maran
  3. Stations of our life by William Jovanovich
  4. A Library of the World’s Best Literature – Ancient and Modern – Vol.XXIV (forty-five volumes); Macaulay-Marvell by Charles Dudley; Towne Warner, Edward C.; Mabie, Hamilton Wright (editors) et al
  5. The Norsk Nightingale: Being the Lyrics of a “Lumberyack” by William Frederick Kirk
  6. Three Ways of Thought in Ancient China by Arthur Waley
  7. Landmarks of Liberty; the Growth of American Political Ideals as Recorded in Speeches From Otis to Hughes, Ed. With Introduction and Notes, by Robert P. St. John

Liked this post? Share it on social media and leave a comment as well as subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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Bill Walsh at Summer Networking Bash http://theinvisiblementor.com/bill-walsh-summer-networking-bash/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/bill-walsh-summer-networking-bash/#respond Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:19:34 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16626 Bill Walsh at Summer Networking Bash Recently, Jennifer Beale hosted her 12th Annual Summer Networking Bash, which showcased a few speakers. One of the workshops I attended, Bill Walsh, America’s Small Business expert shared some valuable tips and advice for entrepreneurs to help them become more successful. 90 percent of success comes from marketing. Who […]

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Bill Walsh at Summer Networking Bash

Bill Walsh at Summer Networking Bash

Bill Walsh at Summer Networking Bash

Recently, Jennifer Beale hosted her 12th Annual Summer Networking Bash, which showcased a few speakers. One of the workshops I attended, Bill Walsh, America’s Small Business expert shared some valuable tips and advice for entrepreneurs to help them become more successful.

  • 90 percent of success comes from marketing.
  • Who is best in class in your niche? If they can do it, so can you.
  • Sponsor an event and speak.
  • Run ads on Facebook.
  • Determine who your ideal customer is.
  • Focus – follow one course until you attain success.
  • If you chase money you will remain broke so create value.
  • Start with a big vision and align your goals with the vision.
  • The crazy ones make the money.
  • Ask yourself these questions?
    • Am I passionate about what I am doing?
    • Will what I am great at serve a lot of people?
  • Duplicate yourself to grow faster.
  • Build something that can grow without you.
  • What is your exit strategy?
  • What can you create that you can license?
  • Build an active community.
  • Publish a newsletter.
  • Give away valuable free content.
  • Produce one video a month, then after six months, charge $10 a month for this valuable content.
  • Be a problem solver.
  • What can you offer that is a value add?
  • Let your clients and customers know that you welcome referrals, so create a Customer Referral Program. Turn your customers into raving fans.
  • Do not lower your prices, instead add more value.
  • Have a system where you have recurring revenues.
  • Have unemployable experts because they are paid on the success of the business which motivates them to perform.
  • All the success you are looking for is on the edge of your comfort zone.
  • On your business card, have an offer that gives people valuable free stuff.
  • Develop marketing collaterals – brochure, postcard and media folder.
  • Surround yourself with the right people – you need the right connections to succeed.
  • If the horse is dead, dismount it.
  • The little things make the biggest difference.
  • Record five to seven minutes of what your clients and customers need to know, and offer the recording on your website.

Liked this post? Share it on social media and leave a comment as well as subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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Claire Hoy – Recovering From Bankruptcy, Summer Series Interviews http://theinvisiblementor.com/claire-hoy-recovering-bankruptcy-summer-series-interviews/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/claire-hoy-recovering-bankruptcy-summer-series-interviews/#respond Thu, 14 Aug 2014 14:48:32 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16623 Once a week during July and August, I am featuring one of the interviews from my book,  Tales of People Who Get It, and post it on the blog so that you may learn from some of the interviewees, as well as introduce the interviewees to a new audience. This week, I feature Claire Hoy, who reminds […]

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Claire Hoy

Claire Hoy – Recovering From Bankruptcy, Summer Series Interviews

Once a week during July and August, I am featuring one of the interviews from my book,  Tales of People Who Get It, and post it on the blog so that you may learn from some of the interviewees, as well as introduce the interviewees to a new audience. This week, I feature Claire Hoy, who reminds us that bad things can happen to anyone. Claire Hoy was a public figure, and after a big high in his career had to declare bankruptcy. A satirical magazine had a field day with Claire Hoy’s experience.

Related: 

Living an Authentic Life – Gabriel Draven, Summer Series Interviews
Leading Women toward Self-Sufficiency, Anthea Rossouw – Summer Interview Series
Pay Your Taxes – George Fraser, Summer Series Interviews
Building Relationships – Andrea Nierenberg, Summer Series Interviews
Samy Chong – Employees, Your Most Valuable Asset, Summer Series Interviews
Nanci Govinder – Downsizing Risks, Summer Series Interviews

In 2007, I published my book, Tales of People Who Get It, which is based on interviews with successful people. The Invisible Mentor blog was born of my book. Let’s take a step back in time to the fall of 2007, I had been thinking about ways to market Tales of People Who Get It and hoping for a burst of inspiration. While I was taking a walk in High Park in Toronto, it popped into my consciousness that Tales of People Who Get It was my Board of Invisible Mentors. What happened, without being aware of it, is that when I faced a problem, I would remember parts of interviews that I had conducted, and would know how to solve that problem. After conducting research, The Invisible Mentor blog was born, and five years later the concept of the invisible mentor has changed.

~Challenge~

One of the biggest challenges that I faced was when I had to declare bankruptcy. I never had any money problems until I had some money. In 1990, I co-authored By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider’s Portrait of the Mossad, a New York Times bestseller, with Victor Ostrovsky. The book was a huge bestseller and the only Canadian nonfiction book to be number one on the New York Times Bestseller’s List.

With this new money, we invested in several apartment buildings. Our timing was bad! Bad timing coupled with a lawyer we worked with who turned out to be a bit dicey, had a gambling problem, and ended up getting disbarred, forced us to declare bankruptcy.

Being a very public figure and in the media, the bankruptcy was in Frank magazine. This satirical magazine ran a two-page spread with all the details of the bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy was a big financial challenge because my children were still in school, I didn’t have a full-time job and there is a stigma attached.

~Resolution~

You can go to the tallest building and jump off, or you can carry on and say there it is and get back on your feet and resolve to make your way through. It took me five to six years to recover. I decided to work harder since I didn’t have a full-time job, and I wrote lots of columns and more books.

We also reassessed things to determine where we were spending money and downscale based on that. In a situation like this, there are two things that you must do – spend less and bring in more money.

~Lessons Learned~

  1. When things appear bleak, you can throw up your hands and jump off a tall building or deal with the situation. But, going bankrupt isn’t that bleak. It’s an inconvenience and it doesn’t make you feel good and your creditors aren’t pleased either.
  2. Most people have some skills to offer and just because you made bad investments or had some bad luck, you still have the same skills that got you ahead before. It’s like playing golf, which I do a lot of. Just because you had a bad shot in golf doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the day or the end of your life. You just say that hopefully the next shot will be better.
  3. I learned that when it comes to financial wizardry I am not very good at it, so now I get the professionals to do it. I focused on my strengths.

~How to Integrate Your Personal and Professional Life~

That’s a problem. One thing I regret to some extent is that when I was in my first marriage, we had two children and I was just starting out in the business and working my way up, I spent a lot more time at work than I should have. It was only after my first wife died that I realized I had to be at home more because the mother is gone and the children need a father. They were ten and eight years old at the time. That taught me a lesson and it made it very clear to me the importance of being around your family. This is far more important than anything that I might do at work. From that time on I understood the importance of going to your child’s ball game or a graduation ceremony.

I look back at my father where he and I didn’t have a very good relationship. I don’t ever remember him taking me anywhere or coming to watch me play hockey, baseball or any of the sports that I played. Early in my career because I was starting out as a journalist and wanted to be a columnist, at a newspaper, I lost sight of the really important things and lost balance. In the scheme of things the family is more important than work.

Years ago when I was covering Queen’s Park and Bill Davis was Premier of Ontario, he went out of his way to be home by 7:00 am to have breakfast with his children because otherwise he wouldn’t see them. I learned from that because despite the fact that he had a busy job he realized that there was more to life than being Premier of Ontario and having the kind of power that comes with it. This was a good life lesson for me.

~Formula for Success~

First, you have to decide what success is. I consider myself very successful in my life now. I am not wealthy beyond my wildest dreams, but I love my life. I have five healthy children who are happy and doing well. My partner is happy and doing well and I think that’s successful. I get to play golf four times a week, I work at home, write and do radio and television stuff and get to do the kinds of things that I love to do. And, the best thing is that I do not have to do it at someone else’s behest.

Most people look at success in economic or status terms, but I look at success in terms of doing what you like, and enjoying the lifestyle that comes about. So many people get so wrapped up in the traditional view of success, such as getting to the top so that all the other things that are not part of that get left out. No one on their death-bed ever said that they wished that they had spent more time at the office. People say I wished I had spent more time with the children, playing golf, going to the opera and whatever it is that they do.

~Major Regret~

It’s really funny because I have had some regrets and setbacks in life, but it’s always been my attitude not to dwell on them. My first wife died from cancer at 33 years old and we had two young children. I wish that hadn’t happened. There is nothing I could do about it. That was the way it was. I split up with my second wife. I was fired about six times from various jobs, and I had to declare bankruptcy. All these things are regretful, but I just do not dwell on them. I just do not have one single thing that is a major regret.

If I look back on my life and everything that has happened, I can’t really say that I would have done anything differently from what I have done. I don’t dwell on things that went badly, I tend to look forward and say that everyone has good and bad things happen to them.

I know people, and I am sure you do too, who dwell on all the bad things that happen to them and end up being so sour. I remember years ago when I was working for the Toronto Star, we had great difficulty ideologically and I ended up getting fired and that was a very good thing because I wasn’t happy there and I probably wouldn’t have left on my own accord. It’s the only job I have ever had where I hated going in, in the mornings. I was grumpy with the people around me because I hated the job so much. At the time I was regretting having that job, but when I was looking back, I realized that I was turning into one of those people who was moaning and groaning all the time. I didn’t like that because it was the only time in my life when I had fallen into that and it convinced me not to do it again.

Ever since then, I have turned down things that I could have made money on. People who are sitting in their offices at 10:00 pm trying to finish a report that is so important, should ask themselves if five years from now if they are going to have any recollection of what was so important about the report. Your children will always be important.

I constantly remind myself of these sorts of things and that’s how I keep a balance in my life.

Not keeping a balance leaves your children without a father or mother figure and it gives the impression that the family isn’t important, which leads to breakups in relationships.

~Favourite Quote~

I like “Worrying about something is like paying interest on a debt you don’t even know if you owe” by Mark Twain and “It ain’t over till it’s over” by Yogi Berra because I view them as great life lessons. In Mark Twain’s case he is saying that if you are going around and worrying and fretting how bad something is going to turn out, almost all the time it never turns out as badly as you perceived. In Berra’s case, if you don’t throw up your hands when things go wrong, but think it isn’t over and that you still have a chance, anything is possible. For me bankruptcy wasn’t the end of the world, it looked bad, but I got through it.

~Influential Book~

The New Testament has been my moral compass and when I have had serious problems I learned from it. It shaped the way that I try to conduct my life. Whenever I have heavy personal issues I reach for it. My moral values are based on The New Testament. It is the runaway winner for influencing my life. There are life lessons in the context of teaching you something. It is filled with people facing all kinds of adversities and how to deal with them.

Liked this post? Share it on social media and leave a comment as well as subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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How to Find an Ideal Mentor http://theinvisiblementor.com/find-ideal-mentor/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/find-ideal-mentor/#respond Tue, 12 Aug 2014 20:55:02 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16617 How to Find an Ideal Mentor Recently, Suzi Dafnis from the Australian Businesswomen’s Network held an enlightening webinar on “How to Find an Ideal Mentor”. Although the intent, like most webinars, is to use the person’s or organization’s services, Dafnis delivered some very good information. As you know, we talk about invisible mentoring, which is […]

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How to Find an Ideal Mentor

How to Find an Ideal Mentor

How to Find an Ideal Mentor

Recently, Suzi Dafnis from the Australian Businesswomen’s Network held an enlightening webinar on “How to Find an Ideal Mentor”. Although the intent, like most webinars, is to use the person’s or organization’s services, Dafnis delivered some very good information. As you know, we talk about invisible mentoring, which is about taking responsibility for your development by using the tools and resources that are available to you. We assist you by providing you with content – book reviews/summaries, interviews, tips, and resources – for you to apply. Even though we provide invisible mentoring, we have also mentioned that traditional mentoring is complementary to it. In “How to Find an Ideal Mentor,” Suzi Dafnis reported that studies have shown that 70 percent of business owners who have a mentor survive in business twice as long as those who don’t. And those with a mentor are 20 percent more likely to experience growth in their business than those who don’t. These are impressive statistics and provide a compelling case for securing a mentor. Here are some highlights from the webinar. Why a Mentor? Mentors can make introductions, open doors for you, act as sounding boards, offer guidance, and you can learn from their wisdom and experiences. Reasons Why you may Need a Mentor

  1. You spend more time working in your business than on your business.
  2. Your business is growing.
  3. You do not have a business plan and/or clear goals and vision for your business.
  4. You have a business plan, but it does not incorporate the vision you have for the business.
  5. To move forward in your business, you need to expand your networks and connections.
  6. You need more sales and customers.
  7. You need help hiring, managing, growing and developing your team.
  8. You are ready to take your business to the next level.
  9. You need help managing your financial systems.
  10. You feel overwhelmed and isolated.
  11. Your business has plateaued or started to contract.

Tips for Finding your Ideal Mentor

  1. Look for a mentor who has done what you are trying to do. You do not have to be operating in the same industry.
  2. Find someone whose strengths and weaknesses complements yours.
  3. Many mentoring relationships are not paid, but the downside with that model is that your mentor may not have the amount of time that you need her to invest in the relationship. You may have to explore a paid mentoring model, but evaluate what you are getting in return for what you are paying out.
  4. Cast your net outside of your niche and industry. Someone in another industry may have solved the problem that you are currently facing.
  5. A mentor is a guide, so avoid people who are controlling. It is up to you whether you take the advice of a mentor. As a rule, whenever anyone offers you advice, reflect on it to determine if the advice is right for you, then act accordingly.
  6. Let your network of contacts know that you are seeking a mentor because they may know of someone who is an ideal mentor for you.
  7. Approach people whom you know and admire.
  8. Use a service that provides mentoring matches. If you go this route, evaluate the track record of the organization before you decide.

Successful Mentoring Relationships

  1. At the first meeting, decide on when and where to meet, length and frequency of meetings. And develop a formal agreement to specify expectations of both mentee and mentor.
  2. Mentoring is about give and take, and the best relationships are based on trust, respect, and honesty.  The mentor and mentee have to be engaged in the relationship for it to work.
  3. Have short and long term goals that will guide your mentor as to what you would like to achieve. Make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, with a timeline attached. You have to be able to know what success looks like as a result of having a mentor, so you know when you have achieved it.
  4. Before each meeting with your mentor, think about what you would like to accomplish and prepare questions that you would like answered. Craft your questions so that you will get the responses that will assist you.
  5. Be yourself and show your vulnerabilities.

Liked this post? Share it on social media and leave a comment as well as subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts. Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter. Book links are affiliate links.

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Using Technology to Write Meta-Descriptions, Summaries and Abstracts http://theinvisiblementor.com/using-technology-write-meta-descriptions-summaries-abstracts/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/using-technology-write-meta-descriptions-summaries-abstracts/#respond Fri, 08 Aug 2014 13:04:27 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16610 Using Technology to Write Meta-Descriptions, Summaries and Abstracts This post is the second part to How to Write Meta-Descriptions, Summaries and Abstracts. These days, there is an app to perform virtually any function, so why not one for summarizing text. I am always scouring the internet for ways to perform tasks faster and more efficiently, […]

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meta-descriptions

Using Technology to Write Meta-Description, Summaries and Abstracts

Using Technology to Write Meta-Descriptions, Summaries and Abstracts

This post is the second part to How to Write Meta-Descriptions, Summaries and Abstracts. These days, there is an app to perform virtually any function, so why not one for summarizing text. I am always scouring the internet for ways to perform tasks faster and more efficiently, and earlier in the year, while researching ways to auto-summarize my blog posts to use as a meta-description, I discovered a few options. What I have found, is that manually summarizing takes more time, but the results are far better and more accurate than the technology options. The technology options are hits and misses, and mostly misses. However, you can sometimes use the auto-summarizing as a starting point for the manual summarizing.

I am using technology to summarize “How to Write Meta-Descriptions, Summaries and Abstracts,” so please let me know what you think of the results.

tldr (Too Long; Don’t Read): This is a web and mobile app that gives you options as to the length of your text summary. You can add it you your browser.

“How to Write Meta-Descriptions, Summaries and Abstracts

I read a lot and write many book summaries/reviews what I call SummaReviews for The Invisible Mentor blog. Question: When you read a book, there’s a purpose for reading it. Recite: Repeat certain information that you’re reading so that you remember it, annotate the book, take notes, and highlight key information.”

Here is a longer summary using tldr.

“How to Write Meta-Descriptions, Summaries and Abstracts

I know that if I do a better job writing meta-descriptions, I will increase traffic to my blog.

I read a lot and write many book summaries/reviews – what I call SummaReviews – for The Invisible Mentor blog. If I practice using the steps outlined in the courses, I will get better, not only at writing book summaries, but also meta-descriptions.

Write it in your own words.

I hope you are!

  • Look through the entire book to get the helicopter view of what the book is about.
  • Question: When you read a book, there is a purpose for reading it. In many instances, you are reading to gather information and to further your knowledge on a topic. That means that you have specific questions, whose answers you expect to find in the book.
  • Recite: Repeat certain information that you are reading so that you remember it, annotate the book, take notes, and highlight key information.
  • Review: Tell yourself what you have learned from the book – the self-testing state.
  • Look through the entire book to get the helicopter view of what the book is about.
  • Question: When you read a book, there is a purpose for reading it. In many instances, you are reading to gather information and to further your knowledge on a topic. That means that you have specific questions, whose answers you expect to find in the book.
  • Recite: Repeat certain information that you are reading so that you remember it, annotate the book, take notes, and highlight key information.
  • Review: Tell yourself what you have learned from the book – the self-testing state.
  • If you do this consistently, you will write better mete-descriptions.

If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people.

Book links are affiliate links.”

Squash Text Summarization: This is a mobile app for Android that gives you the option between summaries of four and eight sentences in length.

“In many instances, you are reading to gather information and to further your knowledge on a topic.

Ask the questions that come to mind.

Looking at the two processes, if you have to summarize a book, or longer text, this is the process that I recommend.

If you have to write a meta-description for your blog post, even if it is not a book summary or review, go through the process of reducing what you wrote, deciding which main points to reject, choosing which keywords to highlight, reproducing your ideas and opinions then repackaging them in fewer words – one to two sentences.”

Iris Reading Summarize This: You have to copy the information from your blog post and paste it into the box on the Summarize This web page.

“How to Write Meta-Descriptions, Summaries and Abstracts

I must admit that I am not great at writing engaging headlines – I know that there are formulas tested by the ad men of yesterday, and when I remember, I use some of those formulas. And writing meta-descriptions are a chore for me, and in my opinion, they are more about search engine optimization and making Google happy. And most of the times, if I am honest with myself, I do not invest enough time to craft the meta-descriptions for my blog posts. However, something clicked for me today that will cause me to change my errant ways. I know that if I do a better job writing meta-descriptions, I will increase traffic to my blog.

Close to a year ago, I started my informal liberal arts education, and to date, I have taken a few writing courses. In one of the courses, there are instructions outlined for summarizing text, and in another, there are instructions for writing abstracts. Summaries and abstracts, involve summarizing content, and so are meta-descriptions, although abstracts and meta-descriptions are more closely aligned. When the connection clicked, I immediately realized all the implications for me. I read a lot and write many book summaries/reviews – what I call SummaReviews – for The Invisible Mentor blog.

If I practice using the steps outlined in the courses, I will get better, not only at writing book summaries, but also meta-descriptions. When you are summarizing text, there are a few rules to be mindful of: Make the summary shorter than the original. Leave out some of the main points. Write it in your own words. Express the author’s (in some instances you are summarizing your content) facts and opinions accurately.”

Smmry: This tool allows you to enter the URL of the webpage that you would like to summarize.

“How to Write Meta-Descriptions, Summaries and Abstracts

I read a lot and write many book summaries/reviews – what I call SummaReviews – for The Invisible Mentor blog.

Look through the entire book to get the helicopter view of what the book is about.

Question: When you read a book, there is a purpose for reading it.

Reading: Actively read the book, take detailed notes, ask the questions, go through the information slowly, read the information on any charts in the book, and look at the images to see how they aid the understanding of the piece of work.

What have you learned that relates to prior knowledge? What are the key ideas in the book and how can you apply them? Did the book contain any surprising information?

Reading: Read actively, take detailed notes, ask questions while reading the text, go through the information slowly, read the information on any charts in the book, and look at the images to see how they aid in understanding the piece of work.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people.”

Text Compactor: This tool gives you the option to choose what percentage of the original text the summary should be.

“Look through the entire book to get the helicopter view of what the book is about.

Question: When you read a book, there is a purpose for reading it. Determine if you understand the material.

Reading: Actively read the book, take detailed notes, ask the questions, go through the information slowly, read the information on any charts in the book, and look at the images to see how they aid the understanding of the piece of work.

Recite: Repeat certain information that you are reading so that you remember it, annotate the book, take notes, and highlight key information. Did the book contain any surprising information?

Looking at the two processes, if you have to summarize a book, or longer text, this is the process that I recommend.

Survey: Look at the table of content, the layout of the book and the index. Look through the entire book to get the helicopter view of what the book is about.

Question: When you read a book, there is a purpose for reading it. Determine if you understand the material.

Reading: Read actively, take detailed notes, ask questions while reading the text, go through the information slowly, read the information on any charts in the book, and look at the images to see how they aid in understanding the piece of work.

Recite: Repeat certain information that you are reading so that you remember it, annotate the book, take notes, and highlight key information.”

Free Summarizer: This gives you the option to choose how many sentences you would like for your summary.

“I read a lot and write many book summaries/reviews what I call SummaReviews for The Invisible Mentor blog.

To use the 5Rs when summarizing content: Read the text so that you know and understand the material, highlight key points, write the shorter version in your own words using synonyms, and use connecting words so the summary is clear and flows smoothly.

Question: When you read a book, there is a purpose for reading it.

Reading: Actively read the book, take detailed notes, ask the questions, go through the information slowly, read the information on any charts in the book, and look at the images to see how they aid the understanding of the piece of work.

Recite: Repeat certain information that you are reading so that you remember it, annotate the book, take notes, and highlight key information.

Question: When you read a book, there is a purpose for reading it.

Reading: Read actively, take detailed notes, ask questions while reading the text, go through the information slowly, read the information on any charts in the book, and look at the images to see how they aid in understanding the piece of work.

Recite: Repeat certain information that you are reading so that you remember it, annotate the book, take notes, and highlight key information.

If you have to write a meta-description for your blog post, even if it is not a book summary or review, go through the process of reducing what you wrote, deciding which main points to reject, choosing which keywords to highlight, reproducing your ideas and opinions then repackaging them in fewer words one to two sentences.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people.”

Here is a one sentence summary using Free Summarizer.

“Reading: Actively read the book, take detailed notes, ask the questions, go through the information slowly, read the information on any charts in the book, and look at the images to see how they aid the understanding of the piece of work.”

After testing a few of these text summarization tools, you have to read through their output and clean up the summaries, and there are times when you have to toss them out because they make no sense. Most times, the summary is the starting point for writing  the meta-description for your blog post and can save you time. I would love it if you tested them and let me know if you get better results. And the results could be because of the nature of the blog post – it is a bit complex.

Liked this post? Share it on social media and leave a comment as well as subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

Kindle

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