The Invisible Mentor http://theinvisiblementor.com Your ideal mentor is virtually in the palm of your hands Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:24:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Were you born to blog? http://theinvisiblementor.com/were-you-born-to-blog/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/were-you-born-to-blog/#respond Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:12:12 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16768 Born to Blog by Mark W Schaefer and Stanford A Smith – Book Review If you have been performing in a role for five years, are you an expert? Would you know all the fundamentals? Or is there room for improvement? It is hard for me to believe, but I have been blogging at The […]

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Born to Blog by Mark W Schaefer and Stanford A Smith – Book Review

Born to Blog

Born to Blog by Mark W Schaefer and Stanford A Smith – Book Review

If you have been performing in a role for five years, are you an expert? Would you know all the fundamentals? Or is there room for improvement? It is hard for me to believe, but I have been blogging at The Invisible Mentor for over five years. With the rate at which technology is changing, it is difficult to keep up with all the information on effective blogging. Recently, while I was in Indigo bookstore I noticed Born to Blog: Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time because the last copy was literally bent out of shape, and hanging off the shelf. It appeared as if someone had been reading the book in the store for a few hours. I purchased the battered copy of Born to Blog at a 10 percent discount and started on a reading adventure to learn more about business blogging.

I have never taken a course on how to blog, I have been learning by experimentation, reading blog posts, and attending a few webinars. I was surprised by how much I know about blogging, but I also learned many new things from the book. What Born to Blog did for me is to provide a framework to structure my approach to blogging. Although I have a high tolerance for ambiguity, I also like working with a framework, even if it’s a loose one.

Born to Blog by Mark W. Schaefer and Stanford A. Smith is the kind of book that is good for people who have just started to or plan to start blogging because it includes basic information such as blogging platforms, themes and plugins. They have a fantastic blog setup checklist and a useful section on specific blog-writing skills and quality expectations. Although I have been blogging for a while know, I found lots of useful nuggets to allow me to become better at my craft. Below I am highlighting some of the information that I think people will find useful.

5 Skills Needed to Blog

  1. Dreaming
  2. Storytelling
  3. Persuading
  4. Teaching
  5. Curating

You will be much stronger in some skills than in others and the authors provide a simple test to determine where you strengths lie. The test revealed that I am strongest in teaching; four-way tie for dreaming, storytelling, and curating; and weakest in persuading. This means that I have to write more How-to posts and work on improving the other four skills.

4 Types of Content

  1. Evergreen: This content will never grow old, and the authors recommend that you can turn this type of content into slideshows, videos and email courses.
  2. Identity: This content is about who you are and its purpose is to develop trust between you and your audience. Are you the solution to what keeps them up at night?
  3. People: This kind of content introduces your readers to your employees and other important stakeholders. You provide an insider view into the company’s culture, important milestones and the lives of the teams.
  4. Bread and Butter: This type of content is the backbone of your blog, and about 80 percent of your posts will be this kind.
    1. Instructional: Teach your customers how to get the most from your products and services. Share stories about how they can save time and money when they choose the solutions that you offer.
    2. Diagnostic: Help your readers to decide if your solution is the correct one for them. Use checklists, tests and quizzes, and case studies.
    3. Proof: These posts target prospective customers, and you demonstrate how you can eliminate their pain points. Proof posts have three parts: Describe the problem and promise a solution; solve the problem; and keep your foot in the door.

5 Ways to Attract Blog Readers

  1. Give away your best: This means that you provide excellent content and encourage readers to share via social media.
  2. Add your blog address to marketing materials: Include blog address on all marketing pieces such as business cards, letterheads, presentations, publications, in addition to on invoices.
  3. Contribute to other publications: Guest blog, write articles for magazines, journals, industry association newsletters, and other publications that you have access to.
  4. Get active on your readers’ social media channels: Post updates on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ – any place where your readers hangout. Research your audience and provide content that matters to them.
  5. Search Engine Optimize: Find relevant keywords, optimize content and post title.

One of the things that the authors emphasized is to blog consistently, and that is true with any craft because you get better by doing the activity. I recommend Born to Blog: Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time by Mark W. Schaefer and Stanford A. Smith.

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:

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.

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Emily Dickinson Personal Library http://theinvisiblementor.com/emily-dickinson-personal-library/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/emily-dickinson-personal-library/#respond Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:22:28 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16752 Emily Dickinson Personal Library Working on the series, Personal Libraries of Successful People, has been a good process for me because it allows me to see the shaping of the mind. of a very successful person. Like I have written before, from what I have observed so far, these successful people read books to improve […]

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Emily Dickinson Personal Library

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson Personal Library

Working on the series, Personal Libraries of Successful People, has been a good process for me because it allows me to see the shaping of the mind. of a very successful person. Like I have written before, from what I have observed so far, these successful people read books to improve their craft, and they read broadly. This is also true of Emily Dickinson, who was an American poet. She read the works of other poets, classic literature, fiction of her time, and various other genres.

Born in 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts, Emily Dickinson received a very good  education. She loved going for long walks, enjoyed music, dancing, and gardening and joined a Shakespeare club. During her twenties, she no longer liked formal occasions. She fell in love with a preacher, but much to her dismay, discovered that he was married.

For the rest of her life, she lived in seclusion, and only two of her poems were published during her lifetime, and they were done without her permission. This post is possible because of the excellent work of Library Thing. Emily Dickinson’s personal library has over 150 books.

Some of the Books in Emily Dickinson’s Library

  1. Italian Journeys, William Dean Howells
  2. Reveries of a Bachelor; Or, A Book of the Heart, Donald Grant Mitchell
  3. The Spanish Gypsy, George Eliot
  4. Scenes of Clerical Life, George Eliot
  5. The Mill on the Floss (Dover Thrift Editions), George Eliot
  6. Memoirs of Rachel, Mme. A. de Barrera
  7. Sweetness And Light, Matthew Arnold
  8. Publii Virgilii Maronis Opera, Or, the Works of Virgil, Virgil
  9. The Complaint, or Night Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality (Classic Reprint), Edward Young
  10. Memoirs of the Late Mrs. Susan Huntington, of Boston, Mass: Consisting Principally of Extracts from Her Journal and Letters; with the Sermon Occasioned by Her Death, Susan Huntington
  11. The Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron, Edward John Trelawny
  12. In Memoriam, Baron Alfred Tennyson
  13. The Princess: A Medley, Baron Alfred Tennyson
  14. Tennyson: Poems (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets), Alfred Tennyson
  15. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe (Profile of Harriet Beecher Stowe)Profile of Harriet Beecher Stowe)
  16. Poems, by Alexander Smith, Alexander Smith
  17. Adjutant Stearns, William A. Stearns
  18. Dream Life: A Fable of the Seasons, Donald Grant Mitchell
  19. The Imitation of Christ: In Four Books (Classic Reprint), Thomas à Kempis
  20. Arctic Explorations, Elisha Kent Kane
  21. Malbone: an Oldport Romance, Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  22. The Poetical Works of George Herbert: With a Memoir of the Author and Notes by Rev. Robert Aris Willmott, George Herbert
  23. The Marble Faun (Oxford World’s Classics), Nathaniel Hawthorne
  24. Essays on the poets: and other English writers, Thomas De Quincey
  25. Autobiographic Sketches, Thomas de Quincey
  26. Emily Dickinson

    Randomly Selected Books from Emily Dickinson’s Library

    Cyclopedia of English Literature (2 Volume set): A History, Critical and Biographical, of British Authors, from the Earliest to the Present Times

  27. The Poems of William Cowper (Classic Reprint), William Cowper
  28. The Ring and the Book (Broadview literary texts), Robert Browning
  29. The Poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  30. Aurora Leigh (Oxford World’s Classics), Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  31. The Professor (Penguin Classics), Charlotte Brontë
  32. Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Brontë (Book Review – The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë)
  33. Across the continent : a summer’s journey to the Rocky Mountains, the Mormons, and the Pacific states, with Speaker Colfax, Samuel Bowles
  34. Star Papers: Or, Experiences of Art and Nature, Henry Ward Beecher
  35. The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth (Classic Reprint), William Wordsworth
  36. The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, William Wordsworth
  37. An American Dictionary of the English Language: Containing the Whole Vocabulary of the First Edition Etc., Noah Webster
  38. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (Princeton Classic Editions), Henry David Thoreau
  39. Walden, Henry David Thoreau (Walden by Henry David Thoreau, Review)Walden by Henry David Thoreau, Review)
  40. The Seasons, James Thompson
  41. Philip van Artevelde; a Dramatic Romance. In Two Parts, Sir Henry Taylor
  42. Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan, Volume I (Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas & Yucatan) John Lloyd Stephens
  43. Letters on Practical Subjects to a Daughter (Classic Reprint), William Buell Sprague
  44. The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley – The Original Classic Edition, Percy Bysshe Shelley
  45. Complete Works of William Shakespeare : Complete Comedies, Histories, Tragedies and Poems, William Shakespeare
  46. Hope Leslie: or Early Times in Massachusetts, Catharine Maria Sedgwick
  47. Waverley – Complete, Sir Walter Scott
  48. Titan: a romance (Titan: A Romance v. 1 (of 2), Titan A Romance Volume II), Jean Paul Friedrich Richter
  49. Thaddeus of Warsaw, Jane Porter
  50. The Course of Time: A Poem, in Ten Books. with a Memoir of the Author; an Analysis of Each Book; Divisions of the Subjects Embraced in the Poem; and a Comprehensive Index, Robert Pollok
  51. The Last Leaf from Sunny Side (This is a link from Google Books), Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
  52. The Angel in the House: The Betrothal, Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore
  53. Coelebs In Search of a Wife, Hannah More
  54. Moore’s Irish Melodies, Thomas Moore
  55. Paradise Lost, John Milton
  56. My Study Window, James Russell Lowell
  57. A Fable for Critics, Or, Better, a Glance at a Few of Our Literary Progenies from the Tub of Diogenes: That Is, a Series of Jokes, James Russell Lowell
  58. Poems (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Poems & Other Writings: (Library of America #118)), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  59. Hyperion: A Romance, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  60. The Golden Legend, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  61. The Conduct Of The Understanding: Essays, Moral, Economical, And Political / By Francis Bacon. With Sketches Of The Lives Of Locke And Bacon, John Locke
  62. Ranthorpe, George Henry Lewes
  63. The Life of Jean Paul Richter (Life of Jean Paul Frederic Richter, Volume 1…, Life Of Jean Paul Frederic Richter, Volume 2), Eliza Lee
  64. The letters of Junius., Junius
  65. Verses Of Helen Hunt (1887), Helen Hunt Jackson
  66. Bits of talk, in verse and prose, for young folks, Helen Hunt Jackson
  67. Life of George Washington ( Life of George Washington: Volume I, Life of George Washington, Vol. 2 of 3 (Classic Reprint), Life of George Washington, Vol. 3 (Classic Reprint)), Washington Irving
  68. Poems, Oliver Wendell Holmes
  69. Kathrina: Her Life and Mine, a Poem, J. G. Holland
  70. Elementary Geology, Edward Hitchcock
  71. Short Studies of American Authors, Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  72. The House of the Seven Gables (Illustrated), Nathaniel Hawthorne
  73. The Blithedale Romance (Penguin Classics), Nathaniel Hawthorne
  74. Gems From American Female Poets: With Brief Biographical Notices (1842), Rufus W. Griswold
  75. A Father’s Legacy To His Daughters, John Gregory
  76. Faust: A Tragedy Translated from the German of Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von Faust Goethe
  77. Life of William Blake, with selections from his poems and other writings, Alexander Gilchrist
  78. Grantley Manor a Tale, Charlotte Fullerton
  79. Theodore Parker: A Biography, Octavius Brooks Frothingham
  80. Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson (Profile: Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Essayist, Poet and Lecturer)Profile: Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Essayist, Poet and Lecturer)
  81. Essays: First Series (Emerson: Essays and Lectures: Nature: Addresses and Lectures / Essays: First and Second Series / Representative Men / English Traits / The Conduct of Life (Library of America)), Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  82. Essays: Second Series, Ralph Waldo Emerson
  83. The national spelling-book, and pronouncing tutor; containing rudiments of orthography and pronunciation on an improved plan, by which the sound of … of English orthoepy, with progressive, Benjamin Dudley Emerson
  84. The Architecture Of Country Houses: Including Designs For Cottages, Farm Houses, And Villas, With Remarks On Interiors, Furniture, And The Best Modes Of Warming And Ventilating, Andrew Jackson Downing
  85. Endymion, Earl of Beaconsfield Benjamin Disraeli
  86. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
  87. The Old Curiosity Shop and Other Tales., Charles Dickens
  88. Nicholas Nickleby (Wordsworth Classics), Charles Dickens
  89. Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son: Wholesale, Retail, and for Exportation, Charles Dickens
  90. American Notes for General Circulation (Penguin Classics), Charles Dickens
  91. The Complete Concordance To Shakespeare: Being A Verbal Index To All The Passages In The Dramatic Works Of The Poet. (New And Revised Edition.), Mary Cowden Clarke
  92. The History and Adventures of the Renowned Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  93. Critical and miscellaneous essays, Thomas Carlyle (Thomas Carlyle, British Historian, Essayist)
  94. The Works: Lord Byron, Baron George Gordon Byron
  95. Letters and Journals of Lord Byron: With Notices of His Life, Baron George Gordon Byron
  96. The Complete Works of Robert Burns, Robert Burns
  97. Pilgrim’s Progress, Parts 1 and 2 with detailed Table of Contents, John Bunyan
  98. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
  99. Villette (Signet Classics), Charlotte Bronte
  100. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
  101. The Life of Charlotte Bronte (Penguin Classics), Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
  102. The True and the Beautiful: In Nature, Art, Morals, and Religion (Classic Reprint), John Ruskin
  103. Lectures On the Philosophy of the Human Mind, Thomas Brown
  104. Adam Bede (Penguin Classics), George Eliot
  105. Prometheus Bound, and Other Poems, Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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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Relevance: One of the Keys to Successful Social Interactions http://theinvisiblementor.com/relevance-one-keys-successful-social-interactions/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/relevance-one-keys-successful-social-interactions/#respond Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:23:21 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16748 Relevance: One of the Keys to Successful Social Interactions Are you giving your time and energy to things that are relevant to you? What importance do you place on relevance in your decisions to interact with others? A few weeks ago I signed up for a digital storytelling event because I want to learn how […]

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Relevance: One of the Keys to Successful Social Interactions

Are you giving your time and energy to things that are relevant to you? What importance do you place on relevance in your decisions to interact with others?

Relevance

Relevance: One of the Keys to Successful Social Interactions

A few weeks ago I signed up for a digital storytelling event because I want to learn how to tell better stories. Over the summer, I read and reviewed The Power of Visual Storytelling by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, which was a very good book, but when you are improving your craft you look for a variety of sources for information. And storytelling and visual storytelling complement each other because the most powerful content is a combination of text and image. I signed up for the digital storytelling event because I wanted more tips on storytelling.

Last week I attended the event, and there was some good content presented, but the organizers got the idea of including small group discussions. For the most part, I detest small group discussions, I try to avoid them like the plague, and I have become very good at doing the disappearing act. However, last week, I was unable to move fast enough because of the layout of the room. I am not a hermit. I am the first to admit that my social skills are not as developed as an extrovert, but I can certainly hold my own in a conversation. When I went to the event, all I wanted was information that I could use right away. I did not have a specific example of a specific need to share with participants, all I wanted was to learn how to tell better stories.

I started to think about why I had such an adverse reaction to the small group discussion, and I realized that what they were asking me to do was not relevant to my situation. And looking back, I realized that all the small group discussions that I enjoyed were relevant to me, and that’s why I participated instead of doing the disappearing act. There is a concept called the Moment of Relevance, which I talked briefly about a few months ago. And from what I read, the moment of relevance is the start of the buying process when you have started to gather information. I also think that it is the moment when something becomes relevant to you, and when something you have becomes relevant to another person.

Tips from Digital Storytelling Meet-up

Let’s circle back to the digital storytelling meet-up. Kate Hodgson who presented at the Digital Storytelling Meet-up defines digital storytelling as a combination of different media elements to tell a story. She raised some interesting questions and gave participants the eight steps to digital storytelling.

  • What information can you convey and with what medium?
  • Which media will you integrate?
  • What’s not germane to the story?
  • What parts of the story will readers engage with?

These questions are worth thinking about to gain clarity around the story that you want to tell.

8 Steps to Digital Storytelling

  1. Have an idea
  2. Research/Explore/Learn
  3. Write
  4. Storyboard/Plan
  5. Piece together
  6. Gather media elements
  7. Share
  8. Assess results

Do you agree with the steps? Intuitively, it feels like the storyboard/plan should come before writing, but I am reminded that when I created the presentation for the start of the Virtual Literary World Tour, I created my storyboard based on what I had written, so I guess the steps are in the correct sequence. Hodgson emphasized that the media should enhance the story – not detract from it.

The moment of relevance occurred for me during the workshop when Kate Hodgson presented the eight steps to digital storytelling because that is something that I could use – the information was relevant to me. Additionally, she told us that if we wanted to see an excellent example of digital storytelling, we should read Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek by John Branch. In the article, you will find text, images and embedded videos which make for powerful storytelling.

After thinking about relevance for a while, it occurred to me that it is one of the keys to successful social interactions. What are your thoughts? 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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Learning for a Cause http://theinvisiblementor.com/learning-for-a-cause/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/learning-for-a-cause/#respond Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:44:16 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16738 Learning for a Cause These days, I am learning that it is okay to change my mind, and I am giving myself permission to do so. I am an advocate for reading more, but I am realizing that because I will make the time to read more books, not everyone is willing to do that […]

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Learning for a Cause

Learning for a Cause

Learning for a Cause

These days, I am learning that it is okay to change my mind, and I am giving myself permission to do so. I am an advocate for reading more, but I am realizing that because I will make the time to read more books, not everyone is willing to do that because so many things are competing for the 24 hours in a day. I am very busy as well because I am the president of the Toronto Chapter of Ellevate Network,  I am also on my Church Board, and there are many other activities competing for my time. The difference is that reading gives me pleasure, and it transports me into the minds of others, so I make time for it. Additionally, I am an introvert, and reading is one of the ways that I love to spend my time – it is a solitary activity.

Reading is one of the ways that we learn things, and because of time constraints, we have to practice learning for a cause whenever possible, therefore, we have to have a powerful purpose for reading and by default learning. When I first started my informal liberal arts education, I was taking courses that I was interested in, but somewhere along the way, I realized that I was making the same mistakes I have made several times before. It occurred to me that even though I was learning new and interesting things, the new learning was not improving my life in tangible ways. In one of the creativity models, in the first stage of information gathering, we gather specific and general information. Specific information pertains to the issue we are trying to resolve and gathering general information is something that we do throughout our lives, which ultimately aids in becoming more creative.

What I am realizing, is that even though it is good to build on general information, we have to be strategic about it. When I became more focused on the types of courses to take for my informal liberal arts education, that is, courses to improve my craft, I felt a shift take place, and I was building capacity and upskilling. What I was doing now had more meaning because I could see tangible results. I would love it if you read more books, but I would like you to focus on reading books that can improve your work and life. I would love it if you capitalized on some of the free courses that are offered on the internet, but once again, take courses that allow you to build capacity and develop new skills. In other words, practice learning for a cause.

Although I would like you to become more intentional about learning, I do not want you to sacrifice fun. When learning for a cause, find creative ways to blend disciplines. This is something that I am still struggling with. To remain relevant, I have to find ways to create more value for my readers, and doing that takes experimentation. I have given myself permission to make changes to blog topics. An example is I would write profiles of people who I consider wise, and now I am finding that it is more valuable to include the profile with each segment on personal libraries. That means that I will write a mini-biography for the person whose personal library I am showcasing. I am experimenting so I do not have the right formula yet. I am giving myself permission to rethink and redo things, isn’t that what life is about?

What do you think about learning for a cause? How can I change the content of my blog so it will aid your learning for a cause? I want to provide content that is compressed knowledge and accelerates your learning. 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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Getting an Education from Books, Part II http://theinvisiblementor.com/getting-an-education-from-books-part-ii/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/getting-an-education-from-books-part-ii/#respond Fri, 12 Sep 2014 12:26:07 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16732 Getting an Education from Books, Part II In keeping with the theme of getting an education from books, today I am focusing on the course, Invitation to World Literature. Although I really liked – Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life, I loved this course more, and I think a part […]

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Getting an Education from Books, Part II

Education from Books

Getting an Education from Books, Part II

In keeping with the theme of getting an education from books, today I am focusing on the course, Invitation to World Literature. Although I really liked – Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life, I loved this course more, and I think a part of that has to do with the delivery. Invitation to World Literature consists of 30-minute videos based on 13 books – a video for each book – which is a much more manageable number. What I appreciated most of all is the diversity of people talking about the story and how the book impacted their lives. And where possible, the authors talk about their work. The people in the video also read from the book, and it is not plain reading, but dramatic reading. They do such a good job that you want to immediately rush to purchase the books. I think that people today will find these 13 books more accessible than many of the books covered in Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life.

Related Posts

Getting an Education from Books
William S Burroughs’ Book Recommendations – Books off the Beaten Path
What Makes a Book Great?

The videos are interesting and well done. Some of the guests on the video may have done a stage production based on the book, so the learner sees another interpretation of the work. For the books on the list that I have already read, it was meaningful to see how different my interpretation of the work is from others. Since taking the courses, Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life, and Invitation to World Literature, I have also taken Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art. In the lecture on understanding and interpreting literary works, there are arguments on the author’s intention and motive. If we get insights into what the author intended when he or she was writing the book, we would also get insights into what the literary works mean. But this is not possible for many “great” books since the authors are dead.

To get a deeper understanding, and subsequently an education from books, it makes sense to review literary criticisms on literary works that are very difficult to interpret and understand. By doing this, you are penetrating the content of the book. In the end, education is a personal journey, and it is up to you what you take away from the experience. There is some overlap between the 13 and 35 books for both of the courses on “great” books.

Getting an Education from Books – 13 Books from Invitation to World Literature

  1. Gilgamesh: A New English Version
  2. My Name Is Red
  3. The Odyssey
  4. Bacchae
  5. The Bhagavad Gita (Penguin Classics)
  6. The Tale of Genji: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
  7. Journey to the West (The Journey to the West, Revised Edition, Volume 1)
  8. The Popol Vuh (Popol Vuh: The Definitive Edition of The Mayan Book of The Dawn of Life and The Glories of Gods and Kings)
  9. Candide
  10. Things Fall Apart
  11. One Hundred Years of Solitude
  12. The God of Small Things: A Novel
  13. The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights (Modern Library Classics)

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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Getting an Education from Books http://theinvisiblementor.com/getting-an-education-from-books/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/getting-an-education-from-books/#respond Thu, 11 Sep 2014 20:40:31 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16724 Getting an Education from Books I am in this weird mood, and I am feeling like it is the calm before the storm. I have taken several courses already for my informal liberal arts education, and I have been reading books other than the classics, but I always seem to get back to where I […]

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Getting an Education from Books

Education from Books

Getting an Education from Books

I am in this weird mood, and I am feeling like it is the calm before the storm. I have taken several courses already for my informal liberal arts education, and I have been reading books other than the classics, but I always seem to get back to where I need to be. I have been thinking about getting an education from books, and while I am feeling very philosophical, I started to think about two courses that I have taken – Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life, and Invitation to World Literature. Both of these courses are about “great” books. Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life, and Invitation to World Literature. Both of these courses are about “great” books.

Today, I am going to focus on Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life, the only paid course that I have taken as a part of  my informal liberal arts education. Offered by the Great Courses, I loved the content of this course, however, I did not like its delivery. The lectures are 30-minute videos, but what I have discovered about myself during my learning journey is that although I am a visual learner, I do not like videos with people giving lectures, I would prefer it if the video had slides, or were of people reading, or interacting, not someone standing there talking. Despite that, I liked the course because of how Professor Rufus Fears approached the topic.

Professor Fears did not spend a lot of time speaking about the content of the 35 books, but focused on the important themes, and he also demonstrated how and why some of those great old books are still relevant today. Many of the books demonstrate how to live your life with honor and integrity. And one of the things which struck me is the importance of thinking for yourself and doing what you know to be right thing to do. This is poignant – during the holocaust and other horrific events, people committed hateful acts against others without thinking about whether it was the right thing to do.

The Themes from Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life

  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

The course made me think, but helped me to decide whether I wanted to read the 35 books that are covered in the course. Additionally, when I read other books, I find myself evaluating them based on the 10 themes. When you read a book, how do you evaluate how “good” it is? To get an education from a book, the process has to be active – engaging with the words on the page, and connecting the ideas with what you already know. I think that by reading even a third of the books on the list, you will get a worthwhile education on how to live your life.

35 Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life

  1. Letters and Papers from Prison
  2. The Iliad, Iliad
  3. Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
  4. Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation
  5. Book of Exodus
  6. Gospel of Mark
  7. Koran
  8. Gilgamesh: A New English Version
  9. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition)
  10. Book of Job
  11. Oresteia, Aeschylus
  12. Bacchae, Euripides,
  13. Phaedo (Oxford World’s Classics), Plato
  14. The Divine Comedy (The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso), Dante
  15. Othello The Moor of Venice, Shakespeare
  16. Prometheus Bound (Greek Tragedy in New Translations), Aeschylus
  17. The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  18. Julius Caesar, Shakespeare
  19. 1984 (Signet Classics), George Orwell
  20. The Aeneid (Penguin Classics), Virgil
  21. Pericles’s Funeral Oration, Pericles; The Gettysburg Address, Lincoln
  22. All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque
  23. The Analects (Penguin Classics), Confucius
  24. The Prince, Machiavelli
  25. Republic, Plato
  26. On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
  27. Le Morte Darthur (Norton Critical Editions), Sir Thomas Malory
  28. Faust: Part 1 (Penguin Classics) (Pt. 1), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  29. Faust: Part 2 (Penguin Classics) (Pt. 2), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  30. Walden, Henry David Thoreau
  31. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Modern Library Classics), Gibbon
  32. The History of Freedom, Lord Acton
  33. On Moral Duties (De Officiis) & Treatise on the Common Wealth (From the Treatise on the Republic) (Two Books With Active Table of Contents), Cicero
  34. Gandhi An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth, Gandhi
  35. My Early Life: 1874-1904; Painting As a Pastime; Winston S. Churchill THE SECOND WORLD WAR SERIES (6 BOOKS) (THE GATHERING STORM (1948) / THEIR FINEST HOUR (1949) / THE GRAND ALLIANCE (1950) / THE HINGE OF FATE (1950) / CLOSING THE RING (1951) / TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY (1953)), Churchill

Which books have you read that changed your 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.

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Personal Library of Katharine Hepburn http://theinvisiblementor.com/personal-library-katharine-hepburn/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/personal-library-katharine-hepburn/#respond Wed, 10 Sep 2014 10:12:59 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16709 Katharine Hepburn Personal Library Katharine Hepburn was born into a family where her parents instilled into their children that they could become whoever they wanted to be. Her father, Thomas Norval Hepburn was a urologist, and her mother, Katharine Haughton Hepburn was a suffragist and birth-control activist. As a child, Hepburn met notable people such […]

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Katharine Hepburn Personal Library

Image Credit via Wikipedia

Image Credit via Wikipedia

Katharine Hepburn was born into a family where her parents instilled into their children that they could become whoever they wanted to be. Her father, Thomas Norval Hepburn was a urologist, and her mother, Katharine Haughton Hepburn was a suffragist and birth-control activist. As a child, Hepburn met notable people such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman, author of Herland (My review of Herland); Emmeline Pankhurst (My profile of Emmeline Pankhurst) and Margaret Sanger (My profile of Margaret Sanger).

Hepburn earned a BA from Bryn Mawr College, her mother’s alma mater. The process of pursuing her degree taught her how to work hard, which is something she did throughout her acting career.  Nominated for 12 Oscar Awards, winning four, Katharine Hepburn holds the record for the most wins. What makes Hepburn so interesting is that she never got caught up with the Hollywood lifestyle – preferred wearing pants to revealing dresses, avoided publicity, shunned the Hollywood party scene and guarded her privacy.

Well read, Katharine Hepburn had an extensive personal library. The types of books in her library were diverse – from many genres. She had books that would make her better at her craft, but she also had other interests which helped her to be a more rounded person. I noticed that for the films that she starred in that are based on books, she read the books so that she got insights into the characters. She read biographies written about her, and those about Spenser Tracy with whom she worked with for over 25 years. Below are some of the titles that were in her personal library. This blog series is possible because of the work of Library Thing.

Books from Katharine Hepburn Personal Library

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn Personal Library

Instrument, a Novel, John O’Hara
Hunter’s Horn, Harriette Louisa Simpson Arnow
Nobody’s in Town, Edna Ferber
Flowers of the World, Frances Perry
Wildflowers Across America, Lady Bird Johnson
Great gardens of the Western World, Peter Coats
The Portfolios of George Hurrell, George Hurrell
The Photographic Art of Hoyningen-Huene, William A. Ewing
Horst: His Work and His World, Valentine Lawford
The Private World of Katharine Hepburn, John Bryson
Hepburn: Her Life in Pictures, James Spada
Katharine Hepburn, Sheridan Morley
The Films of Katharine Hepburn, Homer Dickens
Young Kate, Christopher P. Andersen
The Pocket Oxford Dictionary of Current English, F. G. Fowler
Webster’s New international dictionary of the English language (Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language with Reference History Second Edition Unabridged [3 Volume Set]), William Allan Neilson
The Incredible Mizners, Alva Johnston
The Looking Glass War: A George Smiley Novel, John Le Carré
Of the Farm: A Novel, John Updike
The Disenchanted (Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage), Budd Schulberg
Franny and Zooey, J. D. Salinger
Tales from Shakespeare, Charles Lamb
The American Shakespeare Festival; the Birth of a Theatre, John Houseman
The Merchant of Venice (Signet Classics), William Shakespeare
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Wordsworth Royals Series), William Shakespeare
The Taming of the Shrew (Folger Shakespeare Library), William Shakespeare
Measure for Measure (Folger Shakespeare Library), William Shakespeare
Twelfth Night or, What You Will, William Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing (Folger Shakespeare Library), William Shakespeare
The Life of Timon of Athens, William Shakespeare
The New Temple Shakespeare (40 Volume Set), William Shakespeare
The heroines of Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s Sonnets, William Shakespeare
The comedies of Shakespeare (Four Great Comedies: The Taming of the Shrew; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Twelfth Night; The Tempest (Signet Classics)), William Shakespeare
The Tragedies of Shakespeare (Four Great Tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth (Signet Classics)), William Shakespeare
Born yesterday: A comedy in three acts, Garson Kanin
Murder in the Cathedral, T. S. Eliot
The Cocktail Party, T. S. Eliot
From Here to Eternity, James Jones
The Golden Apples, Eudora Welty
Giant (Perennial Classics), Edna Ferber (My review Giant by Edna Ferber)
American Theatre As Seen by Hirschfeld, Al Hirschfeld
The World of Hirschfeld, Al Hirschfeld
Spencer Tracy, Alison King
Spencer Tracy: A Bio-Bibliography (Bio-Bibliographies in the Performing Arts), James Fisher
The Complete Films of Spencer, Donald Deschner
The Art Spirit, Robert Henri
George Bellows, ([American artists series]) Peyton Boswell
A Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Oriental Arts: Japan : 4 Volumes
Mexico: Splendors of Thirty Centuries, Octavio Paz
The Harp Weaver and Other Poems, Edna St. Vincent Millay
Three Greek Plays: Prometheus Bound / Agamemnon / The Trojan Women [Paperback] [1958] (Author) Euripides, Aeschylus, Edith Hamilton
Sea of Grass, Conrad Richter
The Little Minister, J. M. Barrie
STAGE DOOR A PLAY IN THREE ACTS, Edna Ferber
On Golden Pond., Ernest Thompson
The Lion in Winter: A Play, James Goldman
The African Queen, C. S. Forester
The Lake: A Play in Three Acts, Dorothy Massingham
Little Women (Bantam Classics), Louisa May Alcott (My review Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)
Long Day’s Journey into Night, Eugene O’Neill
The Blue Nile, Alan Moorehead
Ancient Egypt: An easy introduction to its Archaeology including a Short Account of the Egyptian Museum, CAiro……., J. Leibovitch
MGM: When the Lion Roars, Peter Hay
Film and Its Techniques, Raymond Spottiswoode
Loon Book, Tom Hollatz
Sold for a farthing, Lucy Helen Magdalen Kipps
The big chocolate cookbook, Gertrude Parke
The leading lady : play in three acts, Ruth Gordon
A treasury of the theatre (A Treasury of the Theatre: An Anthology of Great Plays from Aeschylus to Eugene O’Neill), John Gassner
The aborigines and their country, Charles Pearcy Mountford
The Loved and Envied, Enid Bagnold
The Materials and Methods of Sculpture (Dover Art Instruction), Jack C. Rich
Sketching As a Hobby, Arthur Leighton Guptill
The Power and Passion of M. Carey Thomas, Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz
Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America, Ellen Chesler
Unshackled: Story of How We Won the Vote (Women’s Voices), Christabel Pankhurst
A Wind to Shake the World: The Story of the 1938 Hurricane, Everett S. Allen
Tales and stories (The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales), Hans Christian Andersen
Fairy tales and stories, H. C. Andersen (My post Fairy Tales, Fables and Myths)
Edmund Dulac’s Fairy-Book: Fairy Tales of the Allied Nations, Edmund Dulac
The Princess: A Medley, Baron Alfred Tennyson
Silas Marner, George Eliot (My review – Silas Marner by George Eliot)
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (My review The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

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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William S Burroughs’ Book Recommendations- Books off the Beaten Path http://theinvisiblementor.com/william-s-burroughs-book-recommendations-books-off-the-beaten-path/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/william-s-burroughs-book-recommendations-books-off-the-beaten-path/#respond Mon, 08 Sep 2014 13:20:09 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16702 William S Burroughs’ Book Recommendations – Books off the Beaten Path When I was first thinking about the invisible mentor and all the related ideas that I had at the time, I intended to focus primarily on books off the beaten path. I have read and reviewed some books off the beaten path, but not […]

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William S Burroughs’ Book Recommendations – Books off the Beaten Path

William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs 70th birthday – Image Credit via Wikipedia

When I was first thinking about the invisible mentor and all the related ideas that I had at the time, I intended to focus primarily on books off the beaten path. I have read and reviewed some books off the beaten path, but not as much as I had intended. Along the way, I started to become more mainstream, which is not necessarily good or bad for that matter. What is important, is that I have to find a way to stand out from the crowd of book review blogs. If we are reading what everyone is reading, what makes us stand apart? One way to stand apart is our interpretation of what we read, which means that we must interact with the information on the page. And if I am going to live my mission of using yesterday’s ideas to solve today’s problems, then I have to be more intentional about reading books off the beaten path.

In the two-hour Creative Reading lecture, William S Burroughs, the author of Naked Lunch, delivered at Naropa University, talked about several books that are off the beaten path. During the audio lecture, as Burroughs described some of the books, they intrigued me so much that I wanted to read them. One of the criticisms I have of the audio lecture is a transcript is not included, and he describes a book, give the author’s name, but forgets to include the name of book, which makes it difficult to figure out what book he is talking about when the author has written several books.

William S Burroughs’ Non-Fiction Book Recommendations

According to William S. Burroughs, you read non-fiction books for information.

  1. The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld (Vintage), Herbert Asbury: This is a historical book. Five thousand people were killed in 1853 during the American Civil War. The New York Police Department was reformed during the riots because they couldn’t contain the riots and the army had to be brought in.
  2. Witch-Doctor’s Apprentice: Hunting for Medicinal Plants in the Amazon (Library of the Mystic Arts), Nicole Maxwell: The author goes to South America to gather information on native remedies and herbs for a large pharmaceutical company. She discovers a contraceptive that lasts seven years and before the time is up if the woman wants to get pregnant there is a drug she can take to reverse the effects of the contraceptive. No drug company wants to produce the contraceptive because it is not financially lucrative in the long-term. She secures the formula and starts to produce the contraceptive in her basement, but the FDA shuts her down.
  3. Keep the River on Your Right – A Modern Cannibal Tale, Tobias Schneebaum: Author lives with cannibals in Peru.
  4. Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics, Alfred Korzybski: This book was highly recommended that everyone should read at least once. The book is over 900 pages, but there is an abridged version (Selections from Science and Sanity, Second Edition).
  5. An Experiment with Time (Studies in Consciousness), John Dunne
  6. The Serial Universe, John Dunne
  7. In His Image: The Cloning of a Man, David Rorvik
  8. As Man Becomes Machine: The Evolution of the Cyborg, David Rorvik
  9. Brave New Baby; Promise and Peril of the Biological Revolution, David Rorvik
  10. The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study, Kimon Nicolaides
  11. Journeys Out of the Body, Robert Monroe
  12. You Can’t Win, Jack Black: This is an autobiography of a reformed burglar.

William S. Burroughs’ Fiction Book Recommendations

  1. Two Serious Ladies: A Novel, Jane Bowles
  2. Let It Come Down: A Novel, Paul Bowles
  3. The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles
  4. Nightwood (New Edition), Djuna Barnes
  5. The Pilgrim on the Earth, Julien Green
  6. If I Were You, Julien Green
  7. The Green Hat (Capuchin Classics), Michael Arlen
  8. Cain’s Book, Alexander Trocchi
  9. A Short Trip Home, F Scott Fitzgerald (The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald – A New Collection: Head and Shoulders; Bernice Bobs Her Hair; The Ice Palace; The Offshore Pirate; May Day; The Jelly Bean; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; The Diamond as Big as the Ritz; Winter Dreams)
  10. The House and the Brain, A Truly Terrifying Tale: Paranormal Parlor, A Weiser Books Collection, Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton (Ghost story)
  11. The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories, Ernest Hemingway
  12. The Shining, Stephen King
  13. The Godfather (Signet), Mario Puzo
  14. Jaws: A Novel, Peter Benchley
  15. The Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
  16. Dogs of War, Frederick Forsyth
  17. The Magus, John Fowles
  18. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
  19. The Nightcomers, Michael Hastings (Retelling of the Turn of the Screw)
  20. Beat Not the Bones, Charlotte Jay
  21. Nightwings, Robert Silverberg
  22. Fury (Henry Kuttner Series Book 1), Henry Kuttner
  23. Changeling Earth, Fred Saberhagen
  24. Three to Conquer, Eric Frank Russell
  25. Walk To End Of World, Suzy McKee Charnas
  26. The World Wreckers (Darkover: Against the Terrans: The Second Age), Marion Zimmer Bradley
  27. The Terminal Man (Vintage), Michael Crichton

The majority of the books I had never heard of before I took this class. A few of the books that were made into films, like Jaws, The Godfather, and The Shining, I have seen, how about you? 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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Interview with Carolyn L Burke, Part II http://theinvisiblementor.com/interview-carolyn-l-burke-part-ii/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/interview-carolyn-l-burke-part-ii/#respond Fri, 05 Sep 2014 10:12:57 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16698 Interviewee Name: Carolyn L Burke Company Name: Integrity Incorporated and Iguana Books Website: http://www.integrityincorporated.com/ http://iguanabooks.com A few years ago, I interviewed Carolyn L Burke along with nine other interviewees with the intention of updating my book, Tales of People Who Get It. I did not update my book, and now I am writing a completely […]

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Interviewee Name: Carolyn L Burke
Company Name: Integrity Incorporated and Iguana Books
Website: http://www.integrityincorporated.com/ http://iguanabooks.com

Carolyn L Burke

Interview with Carolyn L Burke, Part II

A few years ago, I interviewed Carolyn L Burke along with nine other interviewees with the intention of updating my book, Tales of People Who Get It. I did not update my book, and now I am writing a completely different book. One of the things that I am noticing with the invisible mentor interviews is that most of the information stays relevant because of the types of questions that I ask. I have known Carolyn for many years, and what I love most about her is her mind. Like me, she is a voracious reader, and I learn a lot from her. In the second part of Carolyn’s interview, she tells us that 80 percent is good enough, and to find a way to express ourselves so we can share our wisdom. That’s good advice.

Avil Beckford: What are three events that helped to shape your life?

Carolyn L Burke:

  1. Going to engineering school woke me up.
  2. Writing an online diary changed my life. I went from a very uptight, reserved person who couldn’t express thoughts or feelings easily at all, to someone who through exposure on the Internet, became comfortable to share and talk and listen. So for me that was very therapeutic. It was very explicit and I knew I was doing that.
  3. I think from university right through to leaving my company, selling my company, was the third event that shaped my life because that was all one period. That was a huge event and a huge change in my life.

I look at those three things as sudden changes in my life.

Avil Beckford: What’s an accomplishment that you are proudest of?

Carolyn L Burke: Going backpacking in Central America by myself was probably the biggest accomplishment that I am proud of because it’s very scary.

Avil Beckford: How did mentors influence your life?

Carolyn L Burke: Very strongly. One person in particular, Peter, was sort of a mentor in my twenties, but he helped me grow up. He helped me to get to know who I was. He was very empathetic and wise about how to be a healthy person, mentally aware and self-aware. He helped me through learning how I function as a person. I think had I not met him, I would have been one of those totally crazy people you see wandering around that cannot make reality work for them.

I couldn’t make reality work, and I needed someone to teach me about human society and communicating, quite a fundamental role, in not just my life, but to me he was just so important, so necessary. He was on his own journey, he was the sort of person who was always thinking who had a philosophy, a religion that he had to explain to people and share with them, and then he would move on and the people he’d been sharing with would come and stay.

I didn’t do that, I hope that I didn’t do that. He is still someone I bounce things off. He is mostly a hermit now, he has had enough of dealing that intimately with people helping them that way. I demanded that he teach me, it wasn’t a passive thing. I absolutely insisted that he knew how to do things that I needed to understand and became a good partner in life for years and years because I needed to learn.

The sad part about it was when I needed to practice what I’d learned of being my own person, I had to leave and that was the hardest thing I’d ever done, especially leaving him and trying everything out on my own.

Avil Beckford: What’s one core message you received from your mentors?

Carolyn L Burke: To be honest with yourself.

Avil Beckford: An invisible mentor is a unique leader you can learn things from by observing them from afar, in the capacity of an Invisible Mentor, what is one piece of advice that you would give to readers?

Carolyn L Burke: I think I would give all the standard clichés: Know your dreams and live them, be true to yourself, and look after yourself so that you can look after others.

Avil Beckford: How do you integrate your personal and professional life?

Carolyn L Burke: I keep them fairly separate, a few people crossover. When I started in business it was the opposite, all my friends got employed and we’d go out for dinner and still talk business and it would merge together. And that was fun but it has no scalability, I ran out of friends. So I learned how to keep them entirely separate and work professionally with clients and keep them in that business relationship and that’s worked really well because it allows you to have your own time, even to talk about it, to stay all business with the people you are working with. I discovered that’s really valuable.

Avil Beckford: What’s a major regret that you’ve had in life?

Carolyn L Burke: I have no regrets!

Avil Beckford: What are five life lessons that you have learned so far?

Carolyn L Burke:

  1. 80 percent is good enough and this is a recent one.
  2. Live your dreams, there will always be more.
  3. If you can figure it out, live without fear because it won’t get you anywhere. And if you are experiencing fear work through it anyway. Jump out of the plane even if you’re afraid of heights.
  4. Learn to express yourself, whether it’s a personal art like writing or painting or business communication, public speaking or what. Find a way so your learnings can be shared.
  5. And for business, recognize your enemies. Not everyone in business is on the up-and-up, be able to recognize the con artists.

Avil Beckford: When you have some down time, how do you spend it?

Carolyn L Burke: I love hanging out with friends, with people. I love traveling and I didn’t know that until I stopped working 20 hours a day. I love reading and I learned that I love writing as well. I research stuff, I learn about things.

Avil Beckford: What process do you use to generate great ideas?

Carolyn L Burke: I let things come in without criticism from two sources: I do a lot of reading and I allow things to come through my senses – feeling, listening. I read primarily academic literature, mostly science and math. After I take in information, I go and look at plants. I just stare at plants a lot because they have structures and patterns. There are genetic codes that give them a predestined shape and it determines where a leaf pops out or a flower bud and each plant structure is very different. And it helps my thoughts organize around that plant structure in different ways. So if I’m looking at a palm tree which is a simple structure, just lines going up into the sky versus a maple tree which has all these regular branches, my thoughts coalesce in different packs, so the plants will help me to find different relationships.

Avil Beckford: How do you define success?

Carolyn L Burke: I think there are two types of success. Most people seem to measure themselves against others, whether it’s their peers or siblings or role models. And if you are playing that game, success is very hard to achieve if someone came and told you, you got there so you have to recognize that you have achieved your goals. I think I have done a lot of that. The other kind of success is inside yourself. Do you like yourself? Do you love yourself? Are you happy? Do you have regrets? And I think this kind of success is more important and helps you balance. I think that I have the two, but it’s a process so tomorrow I may lose it again.

Avil Beckford: In your opinion what’s the formula for success?

Carolyn L Burke: My success is based on self-awareness. I know who I am, how I react and what my capabilities are, and that allows me to pursue everything vigorously, the things that matter when they come up and I can do so with passion. And I have done so for most of my life. And that leads to success when you put one foot in front of the other over and over again you get somewhere. Unless you’re accident prone, that process works with passion and a little bit of persistence, you’ll get somewhere. To be able to do that, you have to be clear inside, and not bothered by your own demons. That’s where I start, with self-awareness, and I don’t think everyone does. A lot of people put that aside and focus on persistence and I don’t ever advocate that because I don’t think you can be a happy person using that process.

Avil Beckford: What are the steps you took to succeed in your field?

Carolyn L Burke: I partnered well and I never pursued my own goals, I always pursued partner’s goals. I put my energy toward theirs so that I would have a team. And that’s very effective.

Avil Beckford: What advice do you have for someone just starting out in your field?

Carolyn L Burke: I don’t think there is a pithy piece of advice that would work well.

  • Have good people in your corner, whether it’s people who are financing your initiatives or partnering with you to do the work for clients.
  • Charge for what you do.
  • Recognize the value in what you’re doing.

Avil Beckford: If trusted friends could introduce you to five people that you’ve always wanted to meet, who would you choose? And what would you say to them?

Carolyn L Burke: I have the sense that I would be able to talk to anyone who is living that I’d like to meet so I will pick dead ones.

  1. Bertrand Russell: He is the father of modern logic and I would talk to him about logic and philosophy and the conversation would hopefully go all over the place. I would probably ask him to be an academic mentor or thesis advisor, someone who I could go to with questions and ideas and get direction from.
  2. I would probably look up a great-great-great-great-grandmother or grandfather just to find out who they were. Probably one from my mom’s side and one from my dad’s side. They are Eastern European and British and I’d want to see who they were as people and talk to them. I want to find out how I’m genetically programmed, why my mom did certain things, who were my dad’s people, I don’t know.
  3. Philip K. Dick: He was an author of science fiction and he wrote short stories and novels that led to Paycheck, Minority Reports, Bladerunner and a whole series of movies that came out in the last 10, 15 years. In his time, he was a miserable man, was unhappy, a drunk, married three times and he would write a novel in a weekend. During his life they were penned dystopias and no one liked them. He is my favourite author, he is brilliant and the ideas fly fast and furious and there is always a negative tone which gives the characters a background to rise through. Probably 20 years ago I fell in love with him but he was already dead, so it’s ridiculous. I’d like to meet him and find out if he is a creep or is amazing.
  4. Inventors just after the Dark Ages. How about Gutenberg with his printing press? I don’t really have a preference, but he comes to mind. I think it was an interesting period in history and it was moderately easy to invent something and something impactful and I would love to find out a little more about what their thinking was.

Avil Beckford: Which one book had a profound impact on your life? What was it about this book that impacted you so deeply?

Carolyn L Burke:

  • At different stages of my life, different books impacted me. In school, I read a book called The Glass Bead Game: (Magister Ludi) A Novel by Herman Hess. It affected me radically because I was in transition with school. This book had perfected academia inside it, you got to meet all the different parts of this school, the people and their thinking, and it helped me to see the progress that I was pursuing and helped me to understand the end game and go, “Oh, I’d enjoy that and then I would live that one single thread in life and I’d be an expert, maybe I don’t want to do that.” It helped me to let go, but I read it a lot and that’s rare for me to read the same book over. That impacted my life and my decisions.
  • The book I did my Master’s Thesis on impacted my understanding of the world and gave me a Gestalt shift of understanding and that was Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico Philosophicus: Logical-Philosophical Treatise and that book taught me how to see, and it’s about logic and that’s not where he was going, he was trying to detangle the metaphors that we use to try and understand things. But we do that so much, and do it to understand new things, and maybe we do it sometimes when we shouldn’t. So this book was about when metaphors go bad, and very specifically he was talking about the mind. It was a study of philosophy and his point, which doesn’t make sense to anyone who hasn’t studied it, is that we use all the metaphors of the physical world to try and understand something that is not physical, the mind, and so my favourite quote from his is that, “It’s not that the mind is a nothing, but it’s not a something.” And he was trying to get at the way we embed metaphors into our communications so fundamentally that we don’t see it there, we don’t see our basic assumption about how we understand something, and he was trying to detangle that particular assumption.

Avil Beckford: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are five books that you would like to have with you and why? Summarize the book in two sentences.

Carolyn L Burke:

I don’t re-read books so this is an unanswerable question. So I would want to take reference books, perhaps one on how to build huts, environmental conservation. Now thinking about it, I think I would take a pen and five blank books.

Avil Beckford: What one music CD and movie would you like to have with you (on the deserted island) and why?

Carolyn L Burke: I would not take any, I would not use electronics on my deserted island.

Avil Beckford: What excites you about life?

Carolyn L Burke: It’s very basic and it’s that I am alive and so are you and the trees and the plants. It’s amazing, it’s miraculous.

Avil Beckford: How do you nurture your soul?

Carolyn L Burke: I think traveling helps because it keeps me away from everything, and it refreshes my perspective.

Avil Beckford: If you had a personal genie and she gave you one wish, what would you wish for?

Carolyn L Burke: I think that as a species, I would wish that we had a little more adventure in us. I would put a little more adventure into our hearts.

Avil Beckford: Complete the following, I am happy when…..

Carolyn L Burke: I’m happy when a plan is actualized. I’m happy when a thing comes together in any part of life.

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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.

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Interview with Carolyn L Burke http://theinvisiblementor.com/interview-carolyn-l-burke/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/interview-carolyn-l-burke/#respond Thu, 04 Sep 2014 10:12:39 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16693 Interviewee Name: Carolyn L Burke Company Name: Integrity Incorporated and Iguana Books Website: http://www.integrityincorporated.com/, http://iguanabooks.com A few years ago, I interviewed Carolyn L Burke along with nine other interviewees with the intention of updating my book, Tales of People Who Get It. I did not update my book, and now I am writing a completely […]

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Interviewee Name: Carolyn L Burke
Company Name: Integrity Incorporated and Iguana Books
Website: http://www.integrityincorporated.com/, http://iguanabooks.com

Carolyn L Burke

Interview with Carolyn L Burke

A few years ago, I interviewed Carolyn L Burke along with nine other interviewees with the intention of updating my book, Tales of People Who Get It. I did not update my book, and now I am writing a completely different book. One of the things that I am noticing with the invisible mentor interviews is that most of the information stays relevant because of the types of questions that I ask. I have known Carolyn for many years, and what I love most about her is her mind. Like me, she is a voracious reader, and I learn a lot from her.

Avil Beckford: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Carolyn L Burke: I’ve led an interesting life. I like to pursue anything that interests me as it comes along. That’s included running some businesses, consulting and having an extensive academic career. And I’m sure it will include a lot more things as it goes along. I want to live as fully as I can and tryout whatever intrigues me as I go.

Avil Beckford: What’s a typical day like for you?

Carolyn L Burke: My typical day is pretty relaxed now. I have a number of clients who I work with on a fairly regular basis. I schedule work with them around all the things I’d like to do. My typical day starts as 4:00 am, which is just a natural time for me to get up. I take an hour to read and have some breakfast, and catch up on my email so that’s when I’m prioritizing my day. After that I look at my schedule and decide if I’m prepared for everything and if not, I make very rapid preparation for whatever I left out. I’m most awake first thing in the morning so that makes sense for me because by 3:00 pm I’m ready to quiet down no matter what I’ve been doing.

And then I’ll go to the various meetings, clients, go to the gym in between and hang out with friends after all that’s been done so that’s my typical day. Maybe three hours of work, three hours of preparation and the rest is time for me.

Avil Beckford: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

Carolyn L Burke: I work on things I enjoy. What motivates me is what I find passion for. One day it might me glial cell, the next day it may be macro-biotic cooking and I’ll learn a lot about it then try it out. I’ll learn about the community of people involved so I’m constantly learning and researching, sometimes it ties into the work I’m doing and sometimes it doesn’t.

Avil Beckford: What are glial cells?

Carolyn L Burke: There are neurons and the synapses, and in between there are axons connecting them and they are covered in glial cells, and it turns out that 90 percent of brain mass is glial cells so they are starting to take to take it more seriously.

Avil Beckford: What prompted your interest in that?

Carolyn L Burke: I hit my head and suffered some side effects of that, not good ones and I wanted to understand what the biology and the biochemistry of the problems were, so as it turns out my axons are stretched.

Avil BeckfordIf you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

Carolyn L Burke: Nothing! I’ve lived my life with no regrets; I live each day to my best and I can’t second guess it afterwards because I did my best.

Avil Beckford: What’s the most important business or other discovery you’ve made in the past year?

Carolyn L Burke: : I’ve been reading Tom Clancy novels and in the current book, one of the generals leading the Russian army was talking about tactics of his battle and he’s a strategic thinker so him talking about tactics was odd and then he said, hold on a second I made a mistake, I don’t care about the tactics of my command, I care about the logistics, the process to keep them going. And I think that’s going to be a revolutionary idea for me and this happened in the last two days.

And to answer your question, I think I’m going to be looking at business architecture and strategizing for the long-term efficacy of the business more from a logistics point of view. Previously I’ve looked a lot at how a business grows, how it acquires a client, marketing, sales, positioning, and now I’m going to think a little bit more about the process of getting there, the process of getting the right people, the right products, the right skills to the client at the right time through the marketing and sales effort. So I don’t know where this is going, this is a big change.

Avil Beckford: What’s one of the biggest advances in your industry over the past five years?

Carolyn L Burke: I don’t think there have been any advances. I consult to businesses on how to be more effective, and so the skills I work with clients on are basic – people management, financial management, logistics. There aren’t any revolutions in that. There are a lot of business books, there are a lot of new thinkers touting new philosophies but I don’t think they are revolutionary, I don’t think there are changes. It’s just another way of looking at the same set of problems and possible solutions. It’s not an industry that changes rapidly. The last big change in business model was when the Internet started. Micro-financing might be another new kind of business model but the core of what a business is hasn’t changed even in those cases. It is a way for the owners to provide services or products to customers and there are a lot of bells and whistles you can add on to that basic core, but doing that well doesn’t change.

Avil Beckford: What are the three threats to your business, your success, and how are you handling them?

Carolyn L Burke:

  1. I think there are internal and external threats. Internal threats come from me and the people I work with, what is our vision, where we are going, are we coordinated, do I have the right team together, and that’s always an issue. As people’s roles in life change over time, and when those fall out of alignment that can become a serious threat to the business and the growth of it.
  2. Externally, I used to be in the high tech industry, computer security and there were constant competitive threats – new players, new products, big players coming into the arena that they had stayed out and that was exhausting. It was an ever moving target to stay in business, to stay afloat to remain competitive so I re-examined the business model I was looking at and picked an area where the external threats, the competitive threats are small if you know what you are doing helping other companies grow then there isn’t so much competition, it’s more based on referral and word-of-mouth so I’ve eliminated that kind of threat by switching industries.
  3. The recession is a threat but not just to my business, but to all of us, in that it changes the playing field, the spending patterns that other companies have. And if you don’t know how to manage through a different willingness to spend then you may have to close your doors or shrink, and I’ve managed to avoid that problem essentially by squirreling money away as the business is doing well in order to finance it through the difficult time. And I’ve done that a few times now. And I do it not only in consulting but in real estate, so monitoring the general ebb and flow of the economy and how it will affect your business become important. Curiously computer security was an awful lot about risk mitigation and so I’ve taken a lot of learning from that, and a lot of what I do is managing risk. I’ll make business decisions to lower risks as opposed to boldly going somewhere now.

Avil Beckford: What’s unique about the service that you provide?

Carolyn L Burke: : Integrity Incorporated offers experienced guidance in areas where a business owner is week. What’s unique is that the key consultants all have gone through those different experiences. They’ve owned a business, they’ve gone through financial hard times, they’ve re-jigged their operational structure, they’ve laid people off, they’ve gone through the hiring process and they’ve learned by experience, so I’m dealing with consultants who have learned the hard way. They haven’t learned business through school, but rather through making things work themselves. And so they have examples to share. They have experiences that they can draw on to explain how something could work better. They have mentored people through running a business, so they are in a better position to mentor someone else through who are running their own business.

Avil Beckford: What do you observe most people in your field doing badly that you think you do well?

Carolyn L Burke:: I think you have to keep your eyes on the ball. At the end of the day the business owner has a goal and you have to help them achieve that goal. It might not be that the business needs to succeed, you would think so, but just as often, an entrepreneur will want the personal freedom to hire and fire who they work with, or to choose the clients to work with. And that’s not a financial goal, and if that’s really the strongest goal running a business because they do not want to work for someone else you have to respect that. So I try to listen very closely to what the person I’m working with what their real intention is. I’m very happy to help them make more money, sell more products, get more clients, but that’s not always the immediate goal.

Avil Beckford: Describe a major business or other challenge that you had and how you resolved it. What kind of lessons did you learn in the process?

Carolyn L Burke:  I’m going to answer the question from my own business career, rather than from within the business. A number of years ago I sold my company and suddenly I had nothing to do. I chose not to stay on and I left entirely, sold my shares and cashed out. I was left with some money and a lot of time and feeling the euphoria because all the responsibilities went away.

It was absolutely wonderful, but I wasn’t ready to retire and I didn’t know what to do. I was 37 years old and it was like being a little kid again, what am I going to do with my life was the big question. After a couple of years I chose to start another company. In the interim, I tried all sorts of other things to see what life was really like. I travelled for the first time, and I got into philanthropy donating money to may alma mater and helping then do fundraising as well. I did a lot of volunteer work with people, and really I was playing, I was finding what interests me, and I found was what interests me was being in business which was very ironic.

I missed it and so I started another company. I structured it differently. I wanted it to be very small with a handful of people. I didn’t want to grow something big again, at least not at that point in time. I wanted to work with really good top-of-the-line people, so I tended not to hire junior people, but just to work with senior, experienced people. And that’s worked really well, that a lot of the headaches of running a business with twenty-somethings doing the legwork with the client went away, a lot of the management hassles went away, so that’s been a lot of fun.

So I think the biggest challenge for me in the last decade was letting go of one business and finding that next one.

Lessons

Carolyn L Burke: It was a shock to me to have to do everything myself again. When you have a company of 60, 70 people everybody has a role and it is divvied up and you’re left with a small piece yourself. When you start something from scratch, which I had done in 1993, when I had started my first company, you’re doing everything and I had done that in ’93, there was no problem and I was good at it, it grew and when some part of my responsibility was too big I hired a person to take on that part. Well, going in the other direction was a lot harder, because it was almost impossible for me to remember to put a stamp on an envelope or find a number to phone. I had to relearn all the basics skills that I hadn’t had to do for so long. I had nothing against them, in fact, I believe in knowing how everybody does their job and doing it myself first, but actually having to do it again was a great shock so I had to learn how to prioritize my time. Even though I knew how to do it at an executive level I had to learn again how to do it when you are the sole entrepreneur, and to slice up time so I’m doing the billing properly, and doing the sales calls and doing the work with the client. It’s an odd lesson, but I’ve gone through both sides of it now.

Avil Beckford: Tell me about your big break and who gave you.

Carolyn L Burke: I gave it to myself. In university, I was going down the US to do graduate work and another guy in my program had just finished his PhD so I was one degree behind him. And he didn’t get a grant, had one all the way along and he was doing amazingly well in school and expected a post-Doc with funding attached. He got the post-Doc but didn’t get the funding and this was the end of his career in his eyes. I said no let’s find other ways to make money. So he dusted off a company he’d had when he was a teenager, a consulting company, opened it up again, found some clients and started creating money working for clients to fund his post-Doc and me through my expensive American education, and that worked.

So our big break was being really plugged into the Internet at the right time in the early nineties and consulting about it to fund our academic careers. That’s where my first company came from. It came from that idea that we could make money outside the academic structure, and it turned out to be true. And it was so much true that we both ended up leaving the academic world within two years to running and growing the business.

Avil Beckford: Describe one of your biggest failures. What lessons did you learn, and how did it contribute to a greater success?

Carolyn L Burke: I failed in engineering school in university. I went to Waterloo which was a co-op program and it overwhelmed me. I moved away from home at 16 and there was so much new and hard work and the world changed for, me and within a year and a half I had failed, and I was asked to repeat a year and it took too much for it to work and I’d always been perfect. And it shocked me that I could fail. I felt it was because I wasn’t paying attention, and I wasn’t doing homework, I wasn’t doing any work at all. I wasn’t interested in engineering.

It took years for me to deal with that, and I started studying things I was interested in as opposed to things that were attached to my ego. Eventually, I got a degree in linguistics, which was so easy and fun and I went on into philosophy which was even more fun and I was finally doing the sort of research that I enjoyed instead of stuff that I hated.

The lesson was that I had to find my own passion and follow that rather than letting my ego drive where my life was going, so it happened very early in my life.

Avil Beckford: What has been your biggest disappointment in your life – and what are you doing to prevent its reoccurrence?

Carolyn L Burke: I’m more self-actualized than that question and that’s my answer. I spent 10 years after I left home learning about who I am and looking at all the motivation I have, the failures I had encountered, and cleaned up my act. I did all that hard work back then, and it’s still very useful. I look back on my life and do not see that I regret something or that I would do something differently, so I cannot answer the question and I’m feeling very frustrated.

Avil Beckford: What’s one of the toughest decisions you’ve had to make and how did it impact your life?

Carolyn L Burke: I think all the tough decisions were mental. They were all inside me learning to grow up, hard choice. External decisions, I make them very easily. I believe it is more important to make a decision and to get it right, so part of my business strength, given all the known factors, here pick one and if we’re wrong we’ll adjust, so that’s the way I act. And so it makes decision-making very easy, so the hard stuff is things I can’t control as easily or at all, and that is who I am as a person.

Here’s a game I play, say I’m working with another company, a client, and there are a number of directions that I can go in, and I know them, and I like some and I don’t like others. That’s not a good situation to be in because I can’t control what they do, so what I’ll do is that I’ll start to arrange my affairs, my company, the options we provide, however it works, in such a way that I don’t mind which direction they go in. And they make their decision and I’ve positioned pieces so that it doesn’t affect me, I like the result no matter what.

To be specific, let’s say I want to work with a company and I know they can afford my services but I don’t know that they are sold on the idea of going through this, so I will offer them several options, and I’ll push for two options. Here is my regular services, here is the price, time commitment and what you can expect, when it is over the next year, and I know they’re not going to say yes to that, but I like it, so then I position it in another option and say here is half my time, half the money, half the success, your results will be less than half, but you will see some, so it’s a baby step. I’m happy with it as well because I have to put in less time and effort and, and the end of day, I know they’ll ramp up. So it’s a basic sales strategy and I give them two choices and I don’t mind which one they pick. To me it’s equivalent because I still have my time free for other things. It’s like chess, it’s fun arranging reality so that I don’t mind what happens and so I don’t mind which way the decision goes.

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.

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