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Posts tagged ‘career’

Discovering the Positvie Impact of Groups: Lifestyle Business Insider

I don’t do groups. In fact, as a child my mother decided one day that I should go to group counseling because my father was an alcoholic. Before anyone gets any ideas about this presumed tragedy, my parents divorced when I was three-years-old, I lived with my mother who had sole custody and was a working trust fund baby, plus I had an older brother who lived with us and lots of family friends creating a rich support system. It wasn’t a difficult life. As for my dad, he was very much around, involved in my life, and my parents remained good friends. Sure, he was absolutely an alcoholic, but the effect that had on my  life was practically nonexistent. He was a jovial drunk and no one had any illusion that he was a responsible adult, including me, whether he was sober or not. So, expectations were always quite low as far as “parenting,” but he was a fun playmate! He worked, too. He was a prolific professional artist, a muralist mostly, and revered well enough in all the right circles for most of my life. There really wasn’t much to complain about, honestly. So, picture me in group with a bunch of kids who were literally going through hell with their alcoholic parent(s)–many suffering abuse, financial hardships, neglect, embarrassment and shame… whereas my dad would drink way too much scotch and get up and sing with the band at the Yacht Club, and everyone thought he was the life of the party. He never tried to drive drunk with me, so safety wasn’t an issue. He might have a slight hangover in the morning that would delay our planned trip to the beach that day, but that was really the extent of my suffering.

Needless to say, I didn’t really participate in group. I just sat there quietly. It was all rather uncomfortable hearing the other kids’ stories–I felt like a fraud. I hated “group.”

That was my first experience with groups: negative, misfit, outsider, and self-conscious are words that come to mind. “Groups” meant other things to me later in life: group projects in school, where I tended to do most of the work; group assignments at work, which tended to follow the same patterns as school; team-building group exercises, team breakout sessions, and shared accountability management systems–please shoot me, it’s so awful!! My friends, colleagues and employers all would joke that “Daphne doesn’t play well with others.” Instead, they’d just give me impossible problems to solve and incredibly challenging tasks to figure out, and I’d hide away in a closed room eventually emerging with the impossible solved. Then, we’d all gather teams together to execute the strategies.

Then, one day I’d met my match. A woman far smarter than me! She was an absolute lunatic–impossible for most people to work with, mean, temperamental, petty and hands down BRILLIANT! She became my best friend and mentor for about 11 years. While everything I said about her is absolutely true, it’s also true that she was the most encouraging, generous and supportive mentor and teammate imaginable who gave me every opportunity to grow and learn and implement anything I wanted to do. Most importantly, she believed in me more than even I did, and I’m pretty cocky! She pushed me in every area of my professional life until I exceeded a standard I didn’t even realize I was capable of achieving. I can’t say that she taught me everything I know–instead she kept challenging me and held tireless faith in me until I learned and applied every professional skill I currently hold. Many of these skills she doesn’t have herself. For her, it wasn’t about her trying to turn me into a clone; it was about pushing me to become my best me. After more than a decade, I began achieving consistently at very high levels, and we both knew that I was now soaring on my own. What started as a brutal form of mentoring and coaching eventually shifted to just brutality, however. The pain crescendoed, and there came a time when there was nothing left to learn in that space, and the abuse was no longer followed by a reward. It was just painful and empty. It was time for me to move on–we agreed. And so it ended. And every day I’m grateful for the full experience. Was there an easier path to take to get me where I am today? Nope. I’d have been too hard-headed to come this far without all of that.

Yet, I still never learned to work well in groups, exactly, but I learned how to lead many groups of people and project manage like a champ! Mostly, I learned how to work exceptionally well with an equal or better-skilled partner. This was a huge breakthrough for this loner!

After a couple more years, I stumbled into the life and work of yet another extraordinary person–just as dynamic and brilliant as the one before, but minus the mean streak and abusiveness and who was also far more successful. Up until now, I’ve always had a mentor in my life, and this other extraordinary person normally would have become my next–wickedly smart, extremely successful businesswoman and entrepreneur… She’s everything I’d want to learn from next! But, we never allowed a mentoring relationship to form. Instead, we entered into our relationship as a partnership of equals, each bringing different skills and expertise to the game, and every challenge, frustration or dispute we’d have within our working process was always approached with this incredible level of mutual respect and love. Occasionally, we’d even openly discuss this wonderful phenomenon. Four years we worked together, almost inseparable though she travels often, without one real argument. There was one enormous problem, however. After four years of creating exceptional work, only two out of 10 large projects were fully completed and launched (though many smaller ones were wildly successful). Everything else was abandoned for one reason or another after getting 60% or even 75% complete. I always blamed her for either stalling projects (sometimes due to legitimate conflicts of interest that would arise) or just never scheduling ample dedicated time to sit down and finalize them with me. I could only get so far on my own–using her ideas and vision–because this is her brand and life. I actually need her to help me polish and complete. I’d voice concerns from time to time, even get a little annoyed and frustrated. She always avoided discussing it… So, I of course assumed she understood and agreed with my point of view, hence the avoidance. Right? Wrong! It appears she’d been blaming me for these unfinished projects this whole time, and two huge arguments erupted as a result. We’re working through this, I’m very relieved to report, but not without some difficulty and a few hard blows along the way.

Believe me, I no longer blame my partner solely for these unfinished projects. What I am doing is gathering up all I know about her and infusing it in the works on my own to reach a finalized stage. That’s not to say that she won’t join with me to polish it pre-release, but I’m going rogue to get to the finish line, because I’ve learned that this is what these projects actually needed all along. I needed to be bold enough, and have enough faith in all I know about this person, to dive in and create the final works. That takes a big set of brass ones to do–to make grand assumptions about someone’s life and opinions, but the bolder I am about doing this, and the more committed I become to this vanguard process, the more confident I become in knowing that this was the missing link all along. This was absolutely the role I was meant to take, but was too timid to shoulder up the responsibility previously. And, yes, I have her blessing. We never had an issue with trust–she knows I know her stories, her heart and intentions–we just struggled furiously with each other until I chose to take a wildly ambitious path. As unusual as this is, it’s gorgeous how it’s all working out!

Still, without launching any of these large projects I’d created, my cash flow is not what I had originally anticipated, to say the least. So, I picked up other freelance clients and maintained others I had planned to phase out, helping me get by as I still work towards finalizing then launching all of this work I’d started. I’ve been frustrated, lost, overwhelmed, feeling isolated and abandoned, and even a little despondent at times, but I never gave up–I knew not to do that. And, here enters the theme of the “group” once more…

Stephanie Frank, an esteemed business coach whom I became acquainted when I first decided to work on my freelance career full time about 5 years ago, started a Facebook group called “Lifestyle Business Insider.” Look, I’m a big fan of Facebook–I socialize on it, debate on it, spread ideas there, tell stories there… instead of being a substitution for real-life, it’s been a brilliant extension of real life for me, and has had a wonderful positive impact on my business. I am also a member of several “professional groups.” Most are fine, but the one Stephanie developed is extraordinary! While I continue to grit my teeth and plow through the completion of these projects, most importantly a specific book project with two additional co-authors, I have been able to share some of my professional struggles, successes, stories and goals with other pros. There’s an eclectic mix of people from varied backgrounds, expertise and levels of achievement on their journey, and though this group is rather new, the feedback, support, sharing and resources presented have been incredibly beneficial! I think I’ve fund a “group” where I actually fit in–I’m not the smartest person in the room here (and I never want to be), instead there’s a beautiful, equitable level of give and take that I believe is creating a synergy far greater than the sum of its parts.

I’m still holding my beloved beast (this big book project) dear to my heart and nearing the end, finalizing the first complete draft of the manuscript next month. Though it’s been an incredibly difficult time, there’s never been a doubt that it’s an absolutely worthwhile journey with an astoundingly worthwhile colleague, partner and dear friend.  And this group, just being able to share with the group, ask questions and give feedback and process in this space has helped me to plow through some really tough barriers. I’m so grateful for each member, and of course Stephanie.

I’ve gone from being a complete misfit in awkward Ala-teen groups and bulldozing my fellow students throughout high school and college group projects, to finally being able to lead teams and work with a partner… and now I’m fully embracing a group of dedicated peers and professionals who join together in a virtual space to support one another, share resources and experience growth. I’m blessed, and I think I’m starting to like this whole “group” concept!

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Brief Autobiography: How I ended up working in nonprofits–a better education than any degree or PR firm could provide

Daphne Taylor Street

I write a weekly syndicated column for Patch.com on caregivers. This week, I wrote about me and my personal path that lead me to working for nonprofits. While I am now currently a full-time freelance writer and communications consultant, my background was critical for me to learn intricate details about our community, the people in our community living in myriad socio-economic lifestyles and dealing with many different social problems. Learning about all of these people, their circumstances, challenges and the inspirational stories of how many have overcome these challenges has helped me learn to communicate and connect with people from all walks of life. I am grateful for all I have experienced and I look forward to the journey that lies ahead!

A career in the caregiving field is a personal one. There are as many unique stories, callings and circumstances as there are professionals in the field. Here is my story:

Communicating Without Words

I began my career as a professional caregiver more than 13 years ago, but to be honest, it wasn’t an intentional choice. I was actually an aspiring opera singer majoring in classical voice performance who needed a night job to match my busy college and audition schedule. The helping fields had residential programs for overnight shifts so I applied. This launched the life-long career that I could never have predicted.

Most of the residents there were non-verbal and those who could speak had very limited capacity. I thought, “This is impossible! I won’t be able to instruct them, communicate with them, figure out if they have a headache or other needs. How can I do this?” I learned  over the course of two years that communication has very little to do with words and everything to do with establishing relationships and having a desire to communicate.

Effective communication requires only that one or more people have something they want to communicate and that there is another person or more willing to receive the message. Everything else is just a variation in delivery methods and technique. This can come in infinite forms.

This lesson was profound, and I keep learning from it in ways I never imagined now as both a professional caregiver and in my current occupation as a writer. I continuously work to develop a clear message and to find an audience willing to receive that message. When I hit barriers, I look to my past for creative ways to communicate and find a willing audience. It’s not always easy, but it is always possible.

Here is the link to the full story: http://largo.patch.com/articles/caregiving-job-changes-opera-singers-life Please give it a read, and leave a comment on the site, or just say hello!

Why look for a job? Create one.

Here are 7 self-employment opportunities most people have the qualifications to do:

  1. Virtual Assistant–some skills are absolutely required such as computer skills, typing, verbal and written communication, organization, problem-solving, scheduling, appointment setting, booking travel and budgeting/bookkeeping/finance are some of the top skills needed for this job. But, if you have extensive office experience and find yourself out of a job, this may be a good fit for you. Essentially, you provide administrative/executive assistant services to businesses and individuals from a remote location. This saves your clients money as you are an independent agent versus an employee needing benefits and office space. It offers you the opportunity to work with more than one client, increasing your income potential while allowing you the freedom to work from home or any other remote location.
  2. Baking–specific to Florida and any other states who have passed Cottage Food Laws. July 1, 2011, the State of Florida passed its Cottage Food Law, allowing individuals to prepare certain food items, such as baked goods, for sale. This law allows individuals the opportunity to prepare these foods in their homes without needing a license or a commercially certified kitchen. There are specific parameters within the law, such as the fact that you cannot earn more than $15,000/year through the sale of your food items, so please read the law in full for the details. What this law can do is afford an individual the ability to launch a small-scale business from their home while working to grow the business to commercial standards that could eventually turn into a full-time, sustainable and profitable business.
  3. Lawn care–most home owners already have the tools at their disposal to launch a lawn care business. Lawn mower, weed eater, blower, rake, clippers, etc. are just a few of the basic tools of the trade. You will also need a means of transporting your equipment to jobs such as a truck or trailer. But, with the right tools and a lot of hard work, you could be ono your way to financial independence.
  4. Pet care–if you love animals, especially if you know how to care for more exotic pets such as reptiles, birds and fish, this could be a great income-making venture. Look on-line and in your own neighborhood to check out your competition and to get ideas of how you might structure your business. You could begin with dog walking or perhaps if you have the space in your home, setting up a doggie daycare. If you’re thinking about doing in-home care, make sure to check out bonding and insurance needs for the industry.
  5. Handyman or woman–do you know how to fix many simple things around the house for basic upkeep and repairs? Do you have the tools needed to get the job done? Maybe you can turn this into an income-making skill. Begin by doing small jobs for people in need and collect references and distribute business cards and fliers liberally throughout your neighborhood. You might be surprised how quickly your handy skills around the house can begin bringing money in the door.
  6. Cleaning–home and commercial cleaning businesses continue to be in demand. Start small and offer any unique services that may help propel your marketability to the top of your competition. Do you know how to polish silver and care for fine art? Do you know formulas for non-toxic cleaning solutions made from organic materials? Maybe you can extend internal house cleaning to include external cleaning if you have a power washer or other such tools at hand.
  7. Whatever you do best–make a list of your best skills and experience, whether you’ve been paid to do these things before or not means nothing. if you do it well, it’s a skill you can be paid to do. Now, turn that skill into a business venture, and you’re on your way to success.

Know that it is important to consider items such as licences, insurances, bonding, taxes, bookkeeping, marketing and capital to get any business started. There are some industries that have specific requirements, so please do your research. Also, consider partnering with someone else or a group of people to share resources and get something started. The most successful businesses and collaborations begin with identifying a problem that needs to be solved then providing that solution through a business. What problem do you see other people and/or businesses have, and how can you provide goods or services to help address that problem? Now, do it.

Who is Daphne Street?

Daphne Street

About who I am:

Daphne Taylor Street is a freelance writer, blogger, grant/proposal writer, nonprofit development consultant, communications consultant, public speaker and internet radio personality in the Tampa Bay area. She has been a professional in the nonprofit industry for more than 18 years, spanning everything from fine and performing arts to substance abuse and mental health services. In the summer of 2011, Daphne left her full-time job as a grant writer to pursue her freelance writing and communications consulting business in full-force, and added her former employer as a client.

 

WHAT DOES DAPHNE DO? Daphne’s focus is on strengthening her local community and beyond through dynamic business strategies, creating value for businesses while helping to develop diverse revenue streams.

 

To further this goal, Daphne works hand in hand with small businesses, nonprofits and artists; armed with a background in communications, marketing, private sector funding procurement and nonprofit development; to help them amplify their branding and communications to increase overall business sustainability and growth.

 

RESULTS: Daphne’s grant and proposal writing services have resulted in millions of dollars of local, state, federal and foundation awards and private sector funding, spanning 14 years of experience.

 

Countless new business offerings, programs, products and services have come to life through Daphne’s visionary approach to matching a company’s mission and strengths with opportunities for growth, enhancement and expansion.

 

Daphne is regularly published as an author through a variety of media and has ghost-written, co-authored and written published articles on behalf of many clients, further positioning them as experts in their field. Daphne currently has two books under development, co-authored with a client.

 

Daphne’s copywriting and graphic design skills are engaging and action-oriented, amplifying brands from diverse industries.

 

Combined, these strategies have generated revenue; lead to procuring private investments, grants and contracts; and helped businesses survive and grow.

You can visit Daphne on her blog: www.daphnestreet.wordpress.com; check her out on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/daphnestreet; or contact her directly via email: dts.streetmedia@gmail.com.
A link to some published articles:
Services:
  • Freelance Writing: articles, blogging, grants, proposals, books, business writing, press releases, business plans, strategic plans, communications plans, marketing plans, white papers, copywriting, research, editing
  • Communications Consulting: strategy, implementation, collaborations/community partnerships, media relations, new media/social networking, crisis management
  • Training/Public Speaking: writing for dollars, winning proposals, winning presentations, media literacy, freelance writing, grants/nonprofit development, communications/marketing, community development, personal branding, internet safety, social marketing
  • Design: photo journalism & graphic design: logos, multi-media presentations/PowerPoint, posters, brochures, web design

Please feel free to contact me directly at dts.streetmedia@gmail.com

Dare to be great!  –Daphne

MONEY IS INFORMATION and you can manage information

Money is information. It is agreed upon values, which fluctuates based on the information surrounding your worth. If information says you are more valuable today than yesterday, the strength of your currency rises.

$$ Built by Information

If the public agrees that the information surrounding your brand says that your brand is more valuable today than yesterday, it is more valuable today than yesterday.

Learning to manage the information surrounding your brand is vital to business development and sustainability.

What is the information surrounding your brand today? What information would make your brand stronger/more valuable to your publics? What are a few actions you could implement to get that information out into your publics’ hands and encourage them to pass the information along–making the impact of that information stronger, more-widespread, more credible and hence valuable than ever before? Communicate!

Yes, you’re seeing it right–this is all about strategic communication management. Identify your audience. Engage in a conversation with your public. Learn what they value. Be responsive to those values. Interact, learn and grow based on the needs of your audience. Let them know that their input and conversations about your business and industry caused you to change something in a meaningful way: your customer service, your philosophy, products, services, etc. You are not only engaged and listening and responding. You care. You care so much that you respond to input by changing. 

If you are in business, your business is to serve. The strength of your brand depends on your ability to demonstrate that service, and your value is determined by your responsiveness.

All things being equal, people will tend to do business with those they know, like and trust. Be that person. Dare to be great! 

To find out more, contact me at daphnestreet@daphnestreet.com
Visit my website: www.daphnestreet.com

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