Monday, September 26, 2011

Outwit your fears; strive for success

Perhaps my favorite business book is Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich." I recommend reading and rereading it, perhaps even annually, to keep your focus laser-sharp.

Now I have another addition for your reading list. It's "Outwitting the Devil," written by Hill in 1938 (yes, 1938!) but never before released. Sharon Lechter, co-author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," has annotated this complex and compelling work, interpreting it for our times.

The history of the book is fascinating. Hill wrote it more than seven decades ago, but his family and advisers considered it too controversial for release. This book will no doubt make some readers squirm, but I'll bet the farm it will make even more readers sit up and take action.

The topic couldn't be more timely -- breaking through inhibitions and living a life free from fear, doubt and dependency. Staring down those devils is an ongoing struggle. Life is constantly throwing us challenges and fanning the flames of fear. Hill identifies the seven principles of good that lead to success.

As Lechter explains: "Hill's other works were published during the Great Depression and indeed helped millions of people find hope and courage to live in faith that they would find their own paths to success. I believe we can find many parallels between his time and our own.

"It is during periods of great stress that we find our will and our inner strength. With the current economic uncertainties, people are choosing -- or being forced -- to find new paths to provide for themselves and their families, and many will find great success."

Perhaps you are familiar with the expression "It's always darkest before dawn." Most of us can identify times when we were so sure that we would fail that we nearly gave up trying, doubted our ability to improve our situation, or gave in to fear and ignored opportunities.

There are remarkable stories of enormous business success that arose during some of the darkest economic times. For example, of the 30 companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 16 were started during a recession or depression. You might recognize some of them: Procter & Gamble, Disney, Alcoa, McDonald's, General Electric and Johnson & Johnson.

Other brainchildren of recessions include Intuit, Whole Foods, J.Crew, Costco and Applebee's. Success stories span all industries and occupations.

Are you reading this with Microsoft software? Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft during the recession of 1975.

About 100 years before that, Thomas Edison laid the groundwork for the formation of General Electric. He created one of the best-known inventions of all time -- the incandescent light bulb -- in the middle of the Panic of 1873, a six-year recession. GE is now the sixth-largest company in the United States.

And perhaps my favorite story of staring down your fears is the success of my dear friend and mentor, the late Curt Carlson. In 1938, with an idea and a $55 loan, Curt founded the Gold Bond Stamp Co. in Minneapolis. His company allowed grocery stores, drugstores, gas stations and other independent merchants to use collectible Gold Bond Stamps to drive customer loyalty and to distinguish themselves from their competitors. The surviving company, Carlson, is now the global leader in travel and hospitality.

Do you think that all of these companies opened their doors with absolute certainty that success was just around the corner?

No. What differentiated them were the fearless leaps of faith: the belief that they had something no one else had -- something consumers would use - and that opportunities were staring straight at them. The entrepreneurial spirit would not surrender to demons.

It doesn't matter if you are a one-person shop or a worldwide operation. Allowing fear to rule your thinking limits your potential. Assess risks and do your homework, but don't be your own worst enemy.

Perhaps the reason I remain so inspired by the work of Napoleon Hill is that I have practiced his philosophy. My regular readers are familiar with my own story: the 26-year-old would-be entrepreneur who bought a near-bankrupt envelope company, who decided to go after the biggest accounts in town -- and eventually sold to all of them. I know that my fears of failure were real, but I had no fear of hard work or success.

As Napoleon Hill said: "Your only limitation is the one which you set up in your own mind!"

Mackay's Moral: You are stronger than your worst fears. Show them who's the boss.

by Harvey Mackay Sept 25, 2011

Outwit your fears; strive for success

Finance guru Ramsey gives Valley pep talk

Financial-radio host Dave Ramsey sure picked a good time to speak in the Valley.

The sluggish economy, wobbly stock market and sinking trend in consumer confidence cried out for a little pep talk, which Ramsey delivered Friday in a speech at Central Christian Church in Mesa and in media interviews.

"The thing to remember is some of the greatest businesses in history were started in down times," including those founded by people who lost their jobs, he said. "We're going to see some wonderful things come out of this recession."

Ramsey, visiting metro Phoenix to promote his new book, "EntreLeadership," said it's critical for managers to value the human side.

The most successful firms, he said, value employees not just as units of production and customers not just as units of revenue.

"Companies run by lawyers and bean counters have lost their souls," he said.

Ramsey's own Tennessee-based company, the Lampo Group, now counts more than 300 employees and has been honored as a desirable place to work.

The book provides a guide to how he manages. Some tenets, drawn from his personal-finance beliefs, include not borrowing money, operating on a budget and "living on less than we make."

Ramsey considers the current period a "great time to start a business." He also said it's a good time to invest, for which he favors growth-stock mutual funds.

by Russ Wiles The Arizona Republic Sept. 25, 2011 01:42 PM

Finance guru Ramsey gives Valley pep talk

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

'Ziggy 'creator Tom Wilson Sr. dies at age 80

CLEVELAND - Tom Wilson Sr., the creator of the hard-luck comic strip character Ziggy, has died, his family said Monday. He was 80.

Tom Wilson Jr., who took over the comic in 1987, said his father died Friday of pneumonia at a Cincinnati hospital. The elder Wilson had moved from Cleveland to a Cincinnati nursing home about eight years ago to be near his family, his son said.

Wilson was an artist at American Greetings card company in Cleveland for more than 35 years and first published Ziggy in a 1969 cartoon collection, "When You're Not Around."

Ziggy was launched in 15 newspapers in 1971 and now appears in more than 500 daily and Sunday newspapers. It also has appeared in books, calendars and greeting cards.

Tom Wilson Jr. said the name Ziggy derived from his father's school experience of being the last alphabetically. When a new classmate arrived with a last name beginning with "Z," the idea took root with the friendly sounding "y" ending, such as Billy or Tommy.

"Ziggy is a last-in-line character," the son said in a phone interview. "The last picked for everything and kind of a lovable kind of loser character."

"I had a y' at the end and z' at the beginning, so the word Ziggy just fell into place. That became his name," was the way Tom Wilson Sr. described it, according to his son.

Tom Wilson Jr. said his father was always optimistic.

"He was a passionate and charismatic man, it came out in everything he did," he said. "He loved ideas and he loved creating -- that was really what drove him. He wasn't a loser in that sense because his passion just came out and inspired everyone around him."

Wilson was "a visionary cartoonist," said John McMeel, chairman and president of Andrews McMeel Universal, which owns Universal Uclick, formerly known as Universal Press Syndicate.

"Tom leaves behind a wonderful legacy in Ziggy, a hard-luck comics page hero who serves as a reflection of Tom's endearing wit and optimism in the face of adversity," he said in a statement.

Ziggy also starred in the ABC Christmas special, "Ziggy's Gift," which won a 1983 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program and was re-released on DVD in 2005.

Universal Uclick, which syndicated the Ziggy column, said Wilson also was head of a creative team that developed the Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears character licensing.

"Tom Wilson had a unique gift for producing creations that stirred imaginations and touched people's lives," said Hugh Andrews, chief executive officer and president of Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Besides his son, Wilson is survived by his wife, Carol, and daughters Ava and Julie.

Funeral services will be private.

Ziggy was launched in 15 newspapers in 1971 and now appears in more than 500 daily and Sunday newspapers.

Associated Press Ziggy was launched in 15 newspapers in 1971 and now appears in more than 500 daily and Sunday newspapers.

by Associated Press Sept 19, 2011

'Ziggy 'creator Tom Wilson Sr. dies at age 80

Liu Maoshan Paintings | Best Bookmarks - StumbleUpon

Harvey Mackay: ABCs of leadership qualities | Tulsa World

As children, we played "follow the leader" for hours on end. The crazier the route and antics, the more we liked it. Being the leader was the best part.

As working adults, "follow the leader" takes on a whole new meaning. Leadership is an art and a skill. It's hard work that is extremely rewarding and occasionally completely thankless.

What traits make a great leader? These are my thoughts:

A is for accountability. When President Harry Truman said "The buck stops here," he demonstrated that he was willing to take the blame along with the praise. Leaders accept responsibility for their actions, as well as those of the people who report to them.

B is for boundaries. Effective leaders respect personal and professional boundaries. They never expect their followers to do something they would not do themselves.

C is for courage. Tough times and tough choices require courageous leaders. Doing the right thing instead of the easy thing is a mark of courage.

D is for decisions. Good decision-making skills are priceless. Remember, not making a decision is a decision in itself.

E is for enthusiasm. A leader must be enthusiastic about his or her job. My mantra: Do what you love, love what you do, and you'll never work a day in your life.

F is for fearless. Leaders should adopt Franklin Roosevelt's philosophy: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Leaders must not be afraid to be bold.

G is for growth. This includes your growth as a leader, your employees' growth to reach their potential and your company's growth to achieve goals.

H is for heart. A good decision must factor in the human element. When your head and your heart say the same thing, you can bet it's the right answer.

I is for influence. Leadership doesn't mean getting people to do their jobs; it means getting people to do their best.

J is for judgment. A leader must demonstrate consistently good judgment to set the standard for the organization.

K is for knowledge. No one expects leaders to know everything, but everyone expects leaders to know who to ask when they don't have the information at hand.

L is for learning. Lifelong learning is an important attribute for a leader.

M is for mentor. Just as you needed some help to get to the top, offer your expertise to the next generation of leaders.

N is for new. Never be afraid to try something new, even if the old way isn't broken. The results might be better than you expected.

O is for organization. This is a twofer: your personal organization and the organization you lead. Your office may be a disaster area, but make sure your mind is organized. The organization you lead should always be foremost on your list of priorities.

P is for people person. You are leading people.

Q is for quick-thinking. A leader must be able to think on the spot, even if the answer is "we need to give this more thought." A leader can figure out the difference.

R is for recognition. Be sure to heap recognition on those who have worked hard and achieved. Sharing the credit doesn't diminish you; it demonstrates your ability to hire well and acknowledge achievement.

S is for strength. A strong leader never waivers on values, ethics or commitment. That's a tall order, but it's absolutely essential.

T is for team-builder. Whether you are a team of two or 2,000, as a leader you are also cheerleader-in-chief. "Go, team, go" works only if you provide the right environment.

U is for ubiquitous. Your presence and influence must be felt everywhere. Make sure the team knows who to follow.

V is for visible. Not only should your presence be felt, but also you should be personally present at events large and small. Get to know your staff beyond their working titles.

W is for wisdom. No one is born wise, but some people learn faster than others what makes an organization tick.

X is for example. (I'm not a good speller.) If you want people to follow the leader, you must set a proper course. Inspire those you lead.

Y is for yeoman's service. A leader has to be willing to work harder than everyone else in the organization.

Z is for zest. Let your passion show, and see if it isn't contagious!

Mackay's Moral: Take the lead and be a superstar!

by Harvey Mackay Sept 18, 2011

Harvey Mackay: ABCs of leadership qualities | Tulsa World

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How to Create Digital Resumes for Your Online Job Search -

In my last column I explained the many different types and formats of resumes. While an understanding of the intricacies isn't necessary, you should have at least a basic understanding of the formats before beginning your job search. For a refresher, you can read that column here.

Here are some quick and easy tips for creating the most common "digital" formats that you'll be asked for.


Remember - it is absolutely essential that you create resume content that is keyword rich regardless of the file format. It is not necessary that you maintain a separate keyword version of your resume. ALL resumes must include a heavy emphasis on keywords. Keywords are generally defined as nouns or phrases that an employer will use when searching for an applicant with your skill set. To maximize the recall of your resume in a search, you will want to use as many keywords in your resume as possible.

1. Keywords should focus on technical and professional areas of expertise, industry-related jargon, and your work history. Also, include the names of associations and organizations of which you are a member.

2. Whenever possible, use synonyms of keywords in different parts of your resume and if you use initials for a term in one section, spell the term out in another.

3. Always be specific. For example, while it may be fine to include the phrase "computer literate," you will also want to list the specific software that you are proficient in using.

This is one of the most common areas of confusion, so I'll state it once again...the content of a keyword resume does not need to differ from the content of your traditional resume. With careful attention to rhythm and flow, it is possible to prepare a resume that is keyword optimized, but that also includes the powerful, compelling, active language of a traditional resume. Not only will this simplify your resume preparation, but it will ensure that the content of all versions of your resume will be optimized for both the computer and the human reader. Furthermore, if you incorporate a professional summary and bulleted list of qualifications in the text of your resume, there is little if any need to prepare a separate keyword summary.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to recommend a specific list of the best keywords to use in your resume, as the "best" keywords are different for every individual and depend mainly on your unique career objective and background. What is certain, however, is that a well-prepared keyword resume is so critical to your success in a job market that largely relies on electronic applicant tracking systems, if you have any doubts at all you should consult with a professional resume writer.


Preparing the all-important ASCII text version of your resume is not difficult, but it does require a learning curve. Once converted to ASCII format, you will be able to email your resume in response to an ad or paste it directly into web-based forms and submit it to Internet resume databanks. The specific directions will vary depending on the software you have installed on your computer. But, in general, to prepare your ASCII resumes properly, follow these simple steps:

1. Using your word processing program (most likely, Microsoft Word), open your word-processed resume and use the "Save As" function to save a copy as a "Text Only" or "ASCII (DOS)" document. Title your document with an easily distinguishable name; perhaps "resume_internet.txt"

2. Close your word processing program and re-open the ASCII file. You will not be able to see your changes until you have done this. Note that it has been stripped of virtually all original formatting.

3. Go through your new ASCII document line-by-line. Align all text flush to the left-hand margin.

4. Remove all "centering," "right hand margin," and "justification" alignments.

5. Although you should no longer see them, if visible, remove all graphics, artwork, and special character formatting.

6. Remove all tab characters.

7. Remove all columns.

8. Replace bullets with a simple ASCII asterisk (*).

9. Carefully check the spelling and the accuracy of your data.

10. If you wish, use ASCII characters to enhance the appearance of your resume. Asterisks, plus signs, or other keyboard characters can be used to create visual lines that separate sections of your resume and make it easier to read. The above steps convert your resume to ASCII without line breaks. When pasted into a web-based form or email message, your resume will automatically wrap to the size of the window.

Your new ASCII resume will be universally readable, no matter what computer system the recipient uses. It will also be easy to manipulate for entry into applicant tracking databases, eliminating the inherent difficulties of scanning and converting your paper resume with OCR systems.

There is no denying that the Internet has caused what was once a straightforward process to become complex and confusing to many job hunters. Yet, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Like never before, as a job seeker you have immediate access to announcements and advertisements of openings around the globe. You have the ability to conduct detailed research on companies of interest. And you have unprecedented opportunity to cost effectively promote your qualifications to hundreds or even thousands of hiring authorities for just a tiny fraction of the cost of doing so through traditional methods. While the new skills you must learn may seem daunting at first, by understanding the concepts and creating your electronic resumes, you are well on your way to an efficient, effective Internet job search.

by Michelle Dumas

How to Create Digital Resumes for Your Online Job Search -

Monday, September 5, 2011

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird « Visioning

A male started feeding at the window feeder yesterday! The female strongly objects to sharing her personal food source, but manages to drink when she is not engaged in territorial battles. All the birds look healthy and will soon begin their migration to the western states of America or Central America. I will miss seeing them every day!

Canon 60D, ISO 640, 200mm, f4, 1/250

Click on the photos to enlarge.

male ruby-throated hummingbird

male ruby-throated hummingbird

by Karen in Chandler Sept 2, 2011

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird « Visioning

Play up your strengths to find success

I have had the privilege of mentoring hundreds of people over the years. I always ask them two questions: What do you like to do? What are your strengths? Most have a good idea of what they like to do, but you wouldn't believe how many people don't understand their own strengths.

One of the secrets of success is making the most of your strengths. First, though, you have to determine what they are - and that may not be obvious, especially if you're just starting out or looking to change careers.

Your strengths develop from a variety of sources: natural ability and aptitude, formal education, job experience, internships, research, hobbies, volunteer involvement and so on. You may not realize the depth of your knowledge or expertise, and that can seriously limit your job search or career path.

If you are in college, by all means take advantage of aptitude and career-placement tests to determine your strengths, weaknesses and hidden talents. If you are not in school, you can find tests online or at your local library. A recent article in Classroom to Cubicle, an online magazine for college students and recent graduates, cites a list of the 10 most-sought workplace skills, assembled by Quintessential Careers:

- Communication skills.

- Analytical/research skills.

- Computer/technical literacy.

- Flexibility/adaptability/managing multiple priorities.

- Interpersonal abilities.

- Leadership/management skills.

- Teamwork.

- Planning/organizing.

- Problem solving.

- Multicultural awareness.

And you thought all that mattered was your college major or your last job!

While it's tough to possess all those skills, especially for someone just entering the job market or switching careers, chances are that past experiences can be developed into specific areas of strength. To zero in on the skills that make you special, lookfor these clues:

- What tasks attract you? Think of the types of jobs that you look forward to, that you'd find some way to do even if you weren't paid. Research companies that employ people in those jobs and start your search there. If you are passionate about a specific cause, that's a good springboard as well.

- In which tasks do you lose yourself? When you're involved in certain tasks, do you forget what time it is and how long you've been working? These will usually be the jobs that use your skills best. As crazy as it sounds, I recently spoke with a new grad who got his job in part because he was able to reach a specific level in a video game. The employer interpreted that as a sign of creative problem solving. By the way, he also demonstrated strong communication skills.

- What do you learn quickly? You probably struggle with mastering some skills, but others you pick up effortlessly. That's because you have some natural talent and a deep desire to learn more. My readers have heard it a million times: You don't stop learning when you finish school. Be a lifelong learner.

- What do other people ask for your help with? Pay attention to the jobs you're assigned and the favors people ask of you. They wouldn't come to you if you weren't good in those areas. An insurance-company customer-service rep recently shared with me that she had been promoted to a key IT position, working as a customer liaison to help the computer jockeys develop consumer-friendly programs.

- Where do you succeed? Take a look at the tasks you've done best; they'll use your most important skills. Don't confuse activity with accomplishment. What you are best at is not necessarily what you spend the most time doing.

- What brings you satisfaction? You'll do better in life and on the job by concentrating on work that you find fulfilling.

Mackay's Moral: It bears repeating: Do what you love, love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life!

by Harvey Mackay Sept 4, 2011

Play up your strengths to find success

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Board of Supervisors won't allow medical-marijuana sites on Maricopa County land

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday changed county zoning rules to disallow medical-marijuana dispensaries or cultivation sites on county land unless marijuana becomes a federally approved drug.

The county got rid of its zoning definitions for dispensaries and cultivation sites and reclassified them as buildings whose uses must not be in conflict with any federal, state or county law. Marijuana is prohibited under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

The change was prompted by County Attorney Bill Montgomery's advice to the board to opt out of the state's medical-marijuana program for fear of a federal backlash against county employees who carry out the law.

Voters approved Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, last November.

But the medical-marijuana program is on hold pending adjudication of a lawsuit seeking clarification from a federal judge on the law's implications for state and local employees.

by Michelle Ye Hee Lee The Arizona Republic Sept. 1, 2011 12:00 AM

Board of Supervisors won't allow medical-marijuana sites on Maricopa County land

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