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What separates great leaders from average leaders? Is it years of experience, a degree from a top-notch university, or an impressive title?

It’s none of these things.

Lead from Within

Lead from Within

The difference between average and great leaders begins long before they assume the mantle of leadership. In fact, you can be a great leader even if you do not have a leadership title or position.

How is that possible? Because great leadership begins from within. It begins with who you are. Who you are when no one else is looking. Your core values and how you act on those values will distinguish you as a leader—every single time.

How do you know if you have what it takes to be a great leader? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What do you value most about yourself?
  • Do you go along with the crowd—even when you know in your heart that you should choose differently?
  • Do you consistently look out for the best interests of others?

Great leaders have these things in common: self-awareness, core values that guide their choices and actions, and giving to others what they have received. Great leaders are also intentional. They look within first and are focused on living with purpose and passion.

So, ask yourself: What one thing can I do today to be more intentional?

May you enjoy the blessings of increasing your awareness each day… and reaching out to help someone else do the same—just a sampling of the many blessings of leadership.

I’d love to hear from you. Tell me about leaders you admire—in your family, in your community, or at work. Use the comment section below or let’s start a conversation on Twitter! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook to continue the conversation! Twitter: https://twitter.com/gloriaburgess Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drgloriaburgessPhD. And feel free to learn more about me and Jazz, Inc. by checking out my website: http://gloriaburgess.com/index.html. Have a fantastic week!

Pass It On!

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I trust that your January is off to a glorious start. Very soon, I will lead a seminar on “Resolutions” for the New Year. Rather than the usual definition of resolution—to make a promise or an oath—I will invite people to consider the musical definition. Mount Rainier - reflected in lake

In music, resolution means to bring something that is out of tune, discordant, or inharmonious into a state of being harmonious & in tune. In order to bring our lives back into a state of harmony, sometimes we have to let go of something else. Perhaps we need to let go of old habits, negative thinking, too many things or possessions, or life-draining relationships.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What is out of tune, or out of alignment, in your life right now?
  • What do you have to do to bring your life back into harmony?
  • What small step can you take today to resolve the discord in your life?

When you take a step away from discord, you take a step toward harmony.

May you enjoy the blessings of letting go, so that this year you can move in the direction of your dreams.

I’d love to hear from you. Tell me about your resolutions in the comment section below or let’s start a conversation on Twitter! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook to continue the conversation! Twitter: https://twitter.com/gloriaburgess Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drgloriaburgessPhD. And feel free to learn more about me and Jazz, Inc. by checking out my website: http://gloriaburgess.com/index.html. Have an wonderful week!

Pass It On!

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You get a call from your dream company. “We’ve reviewed your resume and would like for you to come in to speak with the interview team.” Your heart races with excitement. You’ve made it through the first hurdle!

Then your happy buzz fades as the sobering reality sets in: You now face a second and more challenging hurdle—the Interview.

What should you wear? WHAT questions will they ask? How should you respond to their questions? What questions should YOU ask? Your Career

As you sit down to sort through the varying outcomes of each of these questions, you start making lists of “Shoulds” and “Shouldn’ts,” of “Dos” and “Don’ts.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were lists already made for you? Lists you could mold to fit your particular needs? Lists that serve as starting points in your preparation?

I want to see you land your dream job! To make your life a little easier, I’ve compiled several lists to help you as you enter the land of The Job Interview. In Part 1, we’ll explore the things you should and should not ask once you step into that room.  I hope these guides serve you well.

Questions you SHOULD ask during your interview:

  • Can you describe the position in more detail? Even better: do some research on your own and preface this or any other question with information you’ve discovered about the company. For example, “I see that your company is rapidly expanding… I’m curious if the position I’m applying for is new or is it an existing position?”
  • Can you describe a typical day for the person in this position?
  • Would you provide an example or two of the types of projects I’ll be working on?
  • Will I be primarily working with a team or on my own?
  • Can you describe your ideal employee for this position?
  • What’s your company’s 3- or 5-year plan, and how does the department I’m applying for fit into that plan?
  • How does your company show that it values its employees?
  • Does your company offer professional training and development?
  • When do you hope to fill this position?
  • If I were to start tomorrow, what would my top priority be?

 

Questions you should NEVER ask during your interview:

  • Do you pay overtime?
  • When will I be eligible for a raise?
  • How often does the company give raises?
  • Will you check my Facebook page?
  • Do you do background checks?
  • Do you pay overtime?
  • Will I be able to work from home?
  • How much sick, holiday, and vacation time is allocated? Actually, it’s OK to ask this question, but MUCH later in the process after the company has expressed interest in you.
  • Avoid questions that start with “Why,” because they put people on the defensive.
  • Do not ask questions that you can easily find information about on your own with a quick Google search.

Interested in learning even more interview tips and tricks? Follow me on Pinterest, particularly my board I’ve dedicated to helping you “Ace That Interview.” http://www.pinterest.com/drgloriab/ace-that-interview/

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Care to chat more? Follow me on Twitter and Facebook to continue the conversation! Twitter: https://twitter.com/gloriaburgess Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drgloriaburgessPhD. And feel free to learn more about me and Jazz! Inc. by checking out my website: http://gloriaburgess.com/index.html.

Until next time… keep on keepin’ on. And let me know what’s happening with you.

Pass It On!

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I want to see you land your dream job!

To make your life a little easier, I’ve compiled several lists to help you as you enter the land of The Job Interview. In Part I, we’ll explore tips to make your cover letter stand out from the rest. I hope these guides serve you well.

 Write an Effective Cover Letter

Think of your cover letter like a business card—it makes a first impression. It should pique a prospective employer’s interest in you. Be sure to highlight your skills and experience into the context of the position for which you’re applying. Another way to think of your cover letter is like a movie trailer. It provides a preview of coming attractions, so to speak, without revealing everything. Just enough to make you want to buy that ticket, right? Success or Failure

Tip #1: Keep It Brief

Your cover letter demonstrates that you are an effective communicator. Instead of elaborating what is already listed in your resume, highlight a few key points that will make a recruiter or hiring manager want to learn more about you. Write a brief introduction, then jump right into what you have to offer and why you should be hired for this position. Aim for three well-written paragraphs.

Tip #2: Keep It Relevant

In highlighting what you have to offer, focus on three key factors: what got you into this field, the accomplishments that exemplify why you are the best candidate, and why you are an excellent fit for their organization. Be sure to include a couple of sentences on what strikes you about their specific company.

Tip #3: Personalize

Make sure your cover letter speaks directly to the position for which you are applying. This means that you must write a new cover letter for each position for which you apply. An employer can spot a generic cover letter, so don’t do it or you will risk having your letter and resume tossed into the trash—the infamous File 13! Do not address your letter to “Whom It May Concern.” Do a little digging. A quick web search should surface the name of the person to send your cover letter to. If not–pick up the phone and call. Your prospective employer will appreciate your attention to detail.

Tip #4: Close Effectively

Be confident and assertive. Close your letter with something like this: “After you have reviewed my resume, please contact me to schedule an interview,” or, “I am excited about the prospect of working for you and would be pleased to discuss this opportunity at your earliest convenience. I will call next week to follow up with you.”

Closing comments, such as “I hope you enjoy my resume,” or “If you feel that I am a good fit, let me know” are weak. They don’t resonate with confidence. You know you’re a good fit, so SHOW it with a strong finish!

 Tip #5: Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

I cannot stress the importance of proofreading. Proofreading will ensure that your tone is appropriate. It will also ensure that you’ve touched on key aspects of your background and experience as they relate to the job position. Finally, proofreading will ensure that you catch silly grammatical errors and typos. After you’re satisfied with your letter, ask someone else to review it. Why? Because another person will often find things that you overlooked, such as missing words. Yes, missing words. When we proof our own work, we unconsciously “fill in” words as we read, because we know what we intended to write.

*  *  *  *  *

I hope these tips put you one step closer to landing your dream career. Do you have any tips you’d like to share, or would you like to keep talking about this topic? If so, please send me a note, using my comment section below or follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gloriaburgess or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drgloriaburgessPhD

And stay tuned for Part II in the series. Now that you have a killer cover letter, will your resume match your expectations? I’ll help you make sure it does with my resume tips! Until then:  Walk worthy my friends!

Pass It On!

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To Celebrate Life, Love, Moms, Motherhood, & Valentine’s Day

Letter to My Mom, Mildred Blackmon McEwen

Give her roses while she can still enjoy them. ~ Earnest McEwen, Jr. (my father)

Dear Mama ~

It isn’t your birthday or Mother’s Day. Christmas is over. Epiphany, too. It’s the beginning of a glorious New Year… and I’m writing this letter to honor you. I want to thank you for the singular blessing you’ve poured and continue to pour into my life: you!

You are that blessing. Your life is a poem, a mighty spiritual, a testimony of gratitude, faith, and love. And this letter is a celebration of you.

Your road has been long; your journey has not been easy. Bigotry and prejudice fortified you, teaching you how to love even more deeply and how to see not just with your anatomical eyes, but also to see with the eyes of your heart. Greatest of all, you relied on God’s love and strength rather than your own. In this you gave me the gift of faith and unconditional love for myself and others.

You also gave me what my sister-friend and fellow poet Nikky Finney would say is the gift of being “a woman with keys.” A woman with keys moves in a particular way and she has a responsibility, an obligation to help others find theirs, help them move through their rooms, cross their thresholds, unlock their windows and doors on the journey to claim their promise.

I remember as a little girl, you gave me the precious gift of encouragement. When you said over and again, “Be all that God intended you to be—no matter what, come what may.” I now offer that gift back to my daughter, other family members, my students, clients, and friends.

I remember your humility and sacrifice. For many long years you and Daddy toiled and sacrificed so that my sisters and I could have a better life than the ones you’d known. I remember your and Dad’s Mississippi stories of struggle and strife, of Dad’s deep longing to go to college to better himself and improve our lot, of him working as a janitor at Ole Miss and there, by the grace of God, William Faulkner came into his life and paid for Dad to attend Alcorn A&M College, with no strings attached. I remember you working as a teacher and cook in the nursery school to help make ends meet, Dad’s working at low-paying jobs even with his college degree. I remember you both standing on your rock-solid values of hard work, gratitude, faith, love, and integrity.

I also remember the profound lessons you taught me—to lend others a helping hand, to be of service to others… your constant reminders to do something with my time, to make myself useful. Even if I was already occupied doing something! Today your words echo in my soul as the voice of legacy. Early on, you taught me, Doris, Annie, Debbie, and Vera that you make a living by what you choose as your work, and you make a life by what you do for others.

I remember when I asked what compelled you to go along with Daddy’s “impossible” dreams, you said, “I loved your father and I believed in him. More importantly, we had an abiding faith in Almighty God, and He never gave us more than we could handle, and His grace always saw us through.” Even when you didn’t have any idea of how our family would make it, your love and faith sustained you.

Thank you for giving me a legacy that values education, character, as well as loving, lifting up, and helping others with no strings attached. Thank you for painting on the canvas of eternity with your unshakable belief in the nobility of the human spirit, for painting with a palette imbued with the qualities of humility, faith, love, triumph, and the capacity to treat every human being with dignity and respect. Through you, I have a small glimpse of God’s magnificence, devotion, and triumph.

Because of you, I know—deep in my bones—a few things: if you want change, you must stir the waters and be willing to get out of the boat. If you want change, then you have to invest your heart and soul in the generations to come. I also know that each person must live the legacy that God has intended just for him or her, which means that you can’t hide your light under a bushel. You have to dare to wear your soul on the outside, and keep on keeping on—no matter what, and we have to pass it on by building sturdy bridges for others to cross.

Mother, thank you for being a diva in my life, for not merely talking about blessings… but for being the blessing, and for passing it on!

Love and honor, your daughter Gloria

Pass It On!

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In just a few days, we will pay tribute to an American legend – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Around the world we will celebrate his legacy, even as our own legacies continue to intertwine with his.

Even now, I imagine Dr. King’s presence… and I hear his marvelous voice beckoning us to lean into our deepest calling, which is to serve. “Anyone can be great because everyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve… You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

Storyteller and author Clarissa Pinkola Estes reminds us that “One of the most calming and powerful actions [we] can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show [our] soul.”

In our ever-shrinking global village, standing up and showing your soul is not a luxury. It is an imperative.

In my latest book, Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside, I discuss what it means and what it takes to stand up and show your soul… so that we might co-create the kind of world that we want to pass on to our children and our children’s children and beyond.

As we remember Dr. King and celebrate his legacy, let us also remember to celebrate ourselves as we stand up, serve, and be the change that we want to be in our world.

Pass It On!

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This holiday season, we are blessed once again by my daughter’s presence. Now that she has launched her career, we are even more grateful that she still delights in the simple pleasures of hanging out with me and her dad.

Last year about this time, I asked her what I should write about for my “Feel Good Tuesday” post. She said, “Oh, you should write about family—how wonderful it is to spend time with family members, the importance of appreciating one another, and sharing our love, especially older family members while they can still enjoy your presence.

Family matters. As I get older, I appreciate and celebrate family more and more.

On Christmas Eve, my husband, daughter, and I piled into the car and headed to Vancouver to see my mom, niece, and two younger sisters. We enjoyed a few joyous hours snuggled up on the sofa sharing stories and photos, catching up on each others’ lives, playing games, and dreaming about the year ahead.

Before my daughter returns home to Boston, we’ll gather around the fire, piece together several jigsaw puzzles, and take a few walks in the misty twilight. We might even round up our instruments to make music together, creating wonderful new holiday memories.

As you reflect on your holidays, may you be blessed with the warmth of family, blessed by love given and received.

Sending you and your loved ones Warm Blessings for a Joyous New Year.

Pass It On!

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