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Archive for February 2009

Your Marching Orders for 2009: Get Off Your A**.

I just got a note from my insurance agent, a savvy woman who is trying to make sense of her own bout of career insanity. She writes policies for State Farm — in Florida. That’s not a good thing. Here’s her note:

I could use an emotional lift! An independent career girl for 20 years, worked hard, just started enjoying being able to coast a bit, and wham, State Farm says it is leaving the state.  Of course, there was eventual depression.   The company has my hands tied as a captured agent unable to write through other carriers.  Big political mess.  And I have no control; okay with that. But what next? I will be fine.  A survivor.  Just need to hone in on what I want, and what will pay the bills. 

The most significant line in her note is this: “…(I) just started enjoying being able to coast a bit…” repo the genetic opera divx It’s significant because it made me realize that, for the most part, all of us were coasting — and we didn’t even know it.

I thought I worked really hard. I think a lot of people did. But, faced with the challenges brought on by this disastrous economy, I’ve had to work harder than I have ever worked in my life. It’s paying off, but there is no way I can maintain my business by coasting or simply working hard. We’ve got to put forth Herculean effort or we will fail. These are times when we have to dig so deep into our reserves in order to perform at a level that can overcome these these enormous challenges.

Fortunately, we can do it. We can be quite agile if we quickly accept that what worked in the past won’t work now. Be smart enough to look at your industry and figure out what you can do to adjust and recalibrate faster than your competitors, then come up with a plan and execute. Be bold. Be smart. Be decisive.

We can all cuddle around the campfire and cry about opportunities lost, or we can get off our butts and work. There are so many people who are so shell-shocked by what has happened that they are just sitting on their rear ends, waiting for someone to tell them what to do.

Well, there isn’t anyone who can tell you what to do because we haven’t been through this kind of thing before. So, go figure it out! You don’t know where to start?

1. Figure out five things you want to accomplish in the next three, six and nine and twelve months.

2. Rank them from most important to least.

3. Break each goal down into the steps you will need in order to achieve them.

4. Now, look at those goals again and go deeper with your plan, anticipating the worst but making up your mind to achieve the best.

5. Huddle with your friends and mentors and get their input on what you should do — and what they can do to help.

6. See if it may be to your benefit to turn some of your former rivals into allies so that you can use your collective knowledge and experience to generate success together.

7. Come up with a plan with deadlines and milestones.

8. Believe you will get through this, and you will get through it.

9. Get off your a** and work. Work, work, WORK.

I. Want. To. Win.

My first book was released the day before 9/11. Days later, my publisher decided to cancel my book tour — along with all the other author tours. Since your book only has three months to take off or die, I had to do something.

The tour I created for myself is now legendary. It involved a rented Ford Escort that I drove to every city where I had friends who would put me up for the night. I’d go to bookstores and accost customers until they agreed to buy my book. I wouldn’t leave the store until I had sold every copy. I wrote my 29 letters to Oprah, and something worked. After Oprah featured Hard Won Wisdom, it got a whole lot easier to sell the book — and myself.

thou shalt not kill except free download I learned something in that experience that will get me through this downturn. It also might help you. When you find yourself up against the wall of adversity, you have to make up your mind to get over it. You have to say (out loud), “I WANT TO WIN.” That was hard for me, because I was afraid to say it out loud. What if I failed? But, you have to put it out there. Ask friends for help. And work, work, work, work. That is what it takes.

It is quite easy to become discouraged by the never-ending doom and gloom out there. I see frustration, hopelessness and despair in the eyes of so many people in my audiences, and I tell them to take a deep breath. Let that negativity go. Make up your mind that you will get through this, no matter what. If you believe you will find light in this very dark experience, I promise you, you will find light. If you decide to win, you will win.

Most of us have been slapped by our new economic reality. I had a couple of speeches fall through, and that was discouraging. But, I knew that I could get more business if I got my act together, wrote the book on transcending adversity and then marketed myself in a different way. Remember: Be flexible. Be agile. Times have changed, so change your strategy!

My formula has three parts: 1) The Law of Attraction, which says that thoughts become reality. If you think you will struggle, you will struggle. If you know you will win, you will win. 2) Prayer. Why go it alone? 3) Hard, hard work. Do not ever use adversity as an excuse to slow down or quit. This is the time when you must accelerate your performance and deliver.

I’m working harder than I have ever worked. And, guess what? I am having a great time. I’m learning that I am tough and resourceful. I feel terrific, because I am growing. I feel it. I see it. This is a great defining moment for me. It can be that kind of moment for you.

Make the decision to win. Say it out loud. Come up with a plan. I promise you, there is success to be had, but not if you are doing business the way you have always done it. What will it take for you to create success out of this crumbling economy? What do you have to offer that no one else can? How can you be first to market what you have? Get out of the bunker and start fighting for your win. Seriously, you will make it through this if you keep your head in check.

Take a deep breath. We got through last year, we will get through this year. The question is, will you be a victim or a warrior? I’m a warrior. I want to win.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books. Her fifth book, “Finding the UP in the Downturn” will be released this spring by Newhouse Books. She speaks internationally to corporations and organizations that want more courageous and creative performance.

RIP Rocky.

I remember the first time I heard senior managers at my newspaper use the word “customer” instead of “reader.” That was the beginning of the end.

Minutes ago, corporate honchos from Scripps went into the newsroom to announce the Rocky Mountain News will publish its last edition tomorrow morning. So many businesses are going down around us, but the death of a newspaper is not like the closing of a store. It is a death — especially to those who have loved the tradition of newspapers as I have.

I started my career in a newsroom in Michigan when I was 15 years old. Most of the people who put the newspaper out every day came to the news business with altruistic missions to inform the public and make the world better. That’s why it always hurt so much when corporate suits would come in and remind us that newspapers weren’t charities — they were businesses. 

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There was a constant clash between idealism and reality, and reality won. I am partly to blame for that, now that I no longer work in journalism. I stopped getting a daily paper a couple of years ago. I am an only-on-Sunday subscriber because I don’t need the hard copy cluttering up my house. I read everything for free on the Internet. I didn’t buy the cow because the milk was free. Now the cows are all dying.

I had five great years at the Rocky and three were horrible. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I had a bully boss who ordained that I would never amount to more than a reporter. Ultimately, he did me a huge favor because, if not for him, I probably would be working right now to help put out that last edition.

I wish so much goodness for those who stayed behind to fight for that paper. I have no idea where or how people will land — but journalists are a tough and smart. They’ll figure it out.

I tip my hat to the staff of the Rocky Mountain News and to William Byers, who founded it. Great work, everybody.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books. Her next book, Finding the UP in the Downturn, will be released this spring by Newhouse Books.

I Have No Worries. Bill Gates is About to Share His Fortune With Me.

I got the Bill Gates e-mail again! You know. It’s the one that says he will pay us $245 every time it is forwarded. I’ve been getting it since about 1994 and haven’t seen a dime of it, but this version swears the Gates offer was verified on Good Morning America this morning. For that reason, I have decided to take the day off. Things are looking up in this economy.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books. Her fifth book, “Finding the UP in the Downturn” will be released this spring.

Voker, Bernanke and now Germer weigh in.

Over the weekend, we got this from Paul Volker this from former chair of the Federal Reserve and current advisor to President Obama: “I don’t remember any time, maybe even in the Great Depression, when things went down quite so fast, quite so uniformly around the world.”

But today, the headline says Fed Chair Ben “Bernanke Suggests Recession Will End This Year… 2010 ‘Will Be A Year Of Recovery.'”

Now, let me give my interpretation of those guys and all the others predicting this and predicting that: Nobody knows what they are talking about. Why even listen? Usually, the projections make people feel horrible. They zap hope which zaps performance.

Regardless of what any of those economists and pundits say, if you aren’t operating at your peak right now, you will be a victim of the economy. The more you listen to them, the harder it becomes to operate at your peak.

If you tune out the negative and focus on where you can actually gain some ground, you will turn this downturn into an opportunity. You just have to see that possibility exists. I know so many people who have lost their jobs and seem to be moving in slow motion with their searches because they are convinced there is nothing out there. Well, there are jobs out there — just not very many. The way to find an opportunity is to be open to it. See the possibility that exists.

I know a senior executive who is retiring from a director’s position at Procter and Gamble at the end of this month. She’s in her mid-50s and going out into the world in the worst economic climate possible. She always held she was not going to let herself go out to pasture — and she didn’t. But, imagine my shock when I heard that she was just made VP of sales at another major company — before she even officially retired? She expects a lot out of her career — and gets it.

We all need to do the same. 

Listen to Volker and Bernanke and you’ll wind up confused and depressed. Listen to your own voice telling you to carry on — and you can get through this downturn stronger, wiser and even more successful.

You Can Take This Job And… On Second Thought… Our 2009 Career Attitude Adjustment

I talked with a woman today who complained that she simply cannot stand her job for another minute. I can understand that, because I once had a job like that. I quit after seven weeks. No point in suffering like that when life is short, right?

Well, things have changed a bit since I decided to quit that miserable job. Back then, there weren’t a million people clamoring for every available opening. Today, there are. You can’t be too cavalier about the value of your employment, even when your job sucks.  This is the year to kiss your paycheck (even if you think you are ridiculously underpaid), be grateful for your boss (even if he or she is hopelessly incompetent) and just thank the heavens that you have something when so many people now have nothing.

Many of you will be surprised to hear me say this because I have always said that you should take risks so you can do what you love, because it will be easier for you to succeed. I still believe that. I still think you should keep your eyes open for opportunities and create new success wherever you can. I just don’t think this is a great time to jump into the unknown when you don’t have somewhere to land. Right now, make peace with what little security you can find and ride out this thunderstorm.

I know someone who took a buyout from a tech job and became a middle school teacher. She finds the experience excruciating, but she knows she is in no position to be picky about what she is doing. Others who took buyouts when she did have still not found work, so even though her job sucks — it’s a job.

If you aren’t real happy with your work life, hang in there. We’ll get past these hard times and you will find more of what you are looking for. In the meantime, keep this list of points handy when you start hating what you are doing:

  • You aren’t going to have to stay there forever.
  • It’s only a job. It is not your life.
  • It sure beats worrying about whether you will wind up losing everything you have .
  • You can handle anything if you take it one minute at a time.
  • There are at least a thousand people who would love your crummy job.

If you really want out, you can look for other opportunities while maintaining employment. But, go slow. I still believe the magic is in the risk-taking, but now more than ever, fortify your risks. And, while you wait, kiss that sweet paycheck for as long as you’ve got it.

Another One Bites the Dust…Or, maybe not.

Another member of my inner circle called to let me know she’s been laid off. I lost count of the unemployment statistics of my personal network a long time ago. When is it going to end?

It is so easy to get discouraged. I occasionally experience a flash of negativity and then ground myself by remembering that, in the end, things have a way of working out. There is a lot of anxiety out there, but this is a shared moment of adversity. Nobody is suffering alone. We will all get through this together.

The other day, someone told me that she was convinced that she’d have to work until the day she dies. If it is true, it is very sad. But, she won’t be alone. We will deal with this together, and we will climb out of it together. If you wonder, “Will this last for a year or five or ten?” you can’t help but feel helpless.

Just get through today.

And then tomorrow.

And then the next day. One way or another, we will get to the other side of this bad economy. Those of us who face these challenges with determination and resolve will find out how strong we are. Those who freeze or panic will find out how weak.

These are very, very tough times, but we are capable of being very, very tough people. We did have it easy for a very long time, and we didn’t even realize it. We can either wallow in all the negativity about how bad things are or dive into this moment, learning what we can from it and redefining ourselves with courage.

The good news about my friend’s bad news was her response. “I have to admit that I was thinking this morning that I wasn’t really happy there,” she said about her job. “Now I can take the unemployment and figure things out.” She said it was absolute certainty that she would half broken things movie download

figure things out. That things would work out right.

And, they will. If you are consumed by angst because of today’s economy, let it go. Get through today. Then deal with tomorrow. Know in your heart that things will work out in the end, because they will.

Just take a breath and figure things out.

I need an island, and I will find one… Part I

I have had two family emergencies this week and both were big. Theysnapped me into the present moment and reminded me that time is precious and life is uncertain.

I don’t think I let the lesson sink in. I should have taken today and basked in the sun. Ridden my bike. Breathed in the beauty of Florida this time of year. I don’t know why I didn’t. Instead, I sat at my computer and tried to catch up.

It is 10:13 p.m. and I still have not caught up. I blogged about this problem last week. I am living wired. I am hurrying to blog so I can finally interact with my family fully, and hopefully I can start to really live my life by 11 o’clock.

I know this problem is much bigger than Fawn Germer. We are now connected so artificially to our world that we are losing our connection to reality.

arctic tale divx download When I was in fear for my loved ones this week, it was a sudden, painful jolt. I knew what mattered. It was not artificial communication. It was human touch. Yet, I tell myself I cannot be in the business I am in without a cell phone, Internet, e-mail, blogs and social networking to link me to others.

If I stay wired and work real hard, what will be my reward? Time off to go and enjoy myself and my loved ones? When will that time come? I think the lesson this week is that I should be doing that right now, not later.

I need an island, and I will find one.

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Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books. Her fifth book, Finding the UP in the Downturn will be released in March.

It’s Sam’s book buying day…

And every author knows it is a big deal to make sure that anyone who wants to buy the book, buys it on the same day. That’s how bestsellers are born.

This time, Sam Horn is teaching how to pitch and brand yourself. Here’s a little from Sam’s press release:

Discover why branding guru Seth Godin (Tribes) calls Sam’s Horn’s POP! Process “revolutionary” and how it can help you generate instant intrigue in what you have to say and sell. You don’t need an MBA or a multimillion-dollar budget to create attention-grabbing elevator speeches, POP-off-the-shelf products, stop-em-in-their-tracks ad campaigns, and memorable marketing messages. All you need is this anyone-can-do-this approach for making your communication Purposeful, Original, Pithy. You’ll learn:

The W9 Form: nine questions to crystallize a profitable purpose and stay on brand
The Eureka Moment: how to create the Next New Thing by being first-to-market
Contra-Brand: fly in the face of conventional wisdom by doing the opposite vs. the obvious
Tell-and-Sell Elevator Speech: innovative ways to answer the question, “What do you do?”
Muse It or Lose It: why it’s imperative to “Ink It When You Think It”
Half-and-Half Names: the best way to corner a niche is to coin your own word (i.e., Diabesity)
Get a Smile, Get a Sale: the more people laugh, the more they buy
The Eyebrow Test: the secret to having people at hello in the first 30 seconds

Check it out at:

The only thing that matters and the only thing that lasts…

dr no movie download In the last eight years, I have been so careful not to complain about how Alzheimer’s has affected me. It has been devastating. I keep trying to learn the lessons I am supposed to learn from this. It’s hard. Tonight has been so rough. But the good news is, I am still Betty Germer’s daughter.

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