Get God in Charge of Your Job Search

Being unemployed is a diversion in the path of our lives… and even as people of faith we have to wonder why God would allow such a destructive disruption. However, getting God in charge of our job search transforms the despair of unemployment into a divine diversion where we become closer to God and the true meaning of what He has in store for our lives.

SONY DSCI am a person of faith; I believe with all my heart that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and that His saving grace gives our lives purpose.  I know that following Christ and His
teachings has made me a better person causing me to be more loving to my family, my friends and even to my enemies. Following Christ did not make me perfect, nor will following Him end all my troubles however; following Christ equips me to face life’s challenges with hope, courage and  peace.

God & Work

In this land of great  and plenty too many of God’s abled body children are without work.  I believe that work in its many forms has been created, ordained and sustained by God for us.

unemployment lineGod created work:  God gave the very first job to Adam when He told Him to name everything in the Garden of Eden: Genesis 2:19

God ordained work: When Adam was banished from the Garden of Eden, God commanded “By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat” Genesis: 3:19

God sustained work:  Look around the Bible and almost everyone had work:

………Bezalel was a designer – Exodus 35:31-35

………..Matthew was a tax collector – Matthew 10:1-3

……………..Jesus was a carpenter – Mark 6:1-3

Find more jobs in the Bible.

Work is more than just making coin

CoinGod gave us work to be more than just a paycheck; He gave us work to allow us to showcase His glory through the brilliance of our minds when we create concepts, inventions and medicines; He gave us work to showcase our skill in building houses, cars and fine clothes; He gave us work to showcase our faithfulness by simply showing up to work every day year after year and doing the very best we can.

….So it is only right that when we are out of work the thing that God created, ordained and sustained that we should Get God in Charge of Our Job Search.

How to Get God in Charge of Our Job Search? 

Over the years in working with job search clients I have found 4 things that enable them to get and keep God in charge of their job search

Prayer❶ Prayer

Always be full of joy.  Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Prayer is how we communicate with God. While God is all powerful and He knows our needs even before we ask for them God is also relational and He wants us to talk to Him so that we can fully embrace our relationship.

As Jesus said to his disciples in Mark 11:24, “I tell you, you can pray for anything….” And while I would dare not mandate what my job search clients should pray for however; when asked these are some things I suggest:

–        EnduranceDear brothers and sisters when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  James 1:2-4

Searching for a job can be a long difficult slog.  It will test your metal like nothing else, your finances, self-esteem, and purposefulness will all come under attack.  The ability to endure is one of the qualities I try to cultivate most in job seekers.

The best example of endurance I know of comes in the form of a concept called The Stockdale Paradox: Admiral James Stockdale was held as a prisoner of war for eight years during the Vietnam War and was tortured in excess of twenty times by his captors. He was able to withstand all of this without losing his mind by employing two seemingly contradictory views that has come to be known as the Stockdale Paradox: “Faith that he would prevail in the end no matter the difficulty and facing that he must confront the worst aspects of his current reality”.

I pray for my job search candidates to have the endurance to prevail in the difficult current reality of the job search.  I pray for them to hang on to God for strength; ordained clergy and formal Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said it best: “It is amazing how much Jesus can be all you need when Jesus is all you got.”

–        Wisdom –  If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and He will give it to you James 1:5

Endurance will give you the brute force to survive the job search.  Wisdom will give you the smarts to be successful in the job search.  For many the job search requires a skill set that is not a natural part of the DNA of most people.  The successful job seeker must become a seller and promoter of a product that most people are reluctant to embrace themselves.  Additionally the job search is an opportunity for self-reflection and reinvention.  This kind of transformative work takes courage, brains and above all wisdom.  The Greeks described Wisdom as the judicious application of knowledge. God wants us to be wise; the entire book of Proverbs is designed to teach us wisdom.  “These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

Their purpose is to teach people wisdom”.  Proverbs 1:1-2.   My prayer is for you to have wisdom in your job search and beyond.

–        Forgiveness But you are a forgiving God!  You are kind and full of mercy. You are patient and full of love. Nehemiah 9:17

Slights both personal and professional are a staple of the job search process.  First you are let go by your previous employer, then you go through the humiliating apologies to family and friends as to why you are not working, next, the protracted job search the unreturned phone calls, the recruiter hijinks of loving you one day and not knowing your name the next, and finally the days, weeks, months and even years of unproductive, uncompensated, unemployment.  These slights can make a person bitter, resentful and angry.

Forgiveness is the bleach that can wipe away those slights, for if we don’t forgive these wounds they won’t heal and we can’t move on. And for the job seeker if you don’t forgive it will make the task of finding a job that much more difficult.   The entire structure of our faith in God is based on opportunity and the promise of forgiveness.  Jesus is the model for our forgiveness my prayer for the job searcher is to follow His model.

scripture❷ Reading Scripture

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.  It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  2 Timothy 3:16

Reading scripture daily gives us the foundation for a more imitate and complete relationship with God.  In this post I talked about the importance of praying and the specific items of endurance, wisdom, and forgiveness however as we all know those things don’t happen naturally in the world that we live in.  The stories, commandments, and the word of God contained in scripture gives us the context to reinforce our conversations with God.  It provides a road map showing that our 21 century struggles are not all that new and that victory over them is possible if we follow God’s way.

A practical reason why I advise my clients who want to get God in charge of their job search to read scripture is time.  Work is a big time suck in our lives and so is the work of finding a job.  However we are often not in total control of our time when we are working however, when we are looking for a job we are in more control.  So I advise scheduling a simple 5 minute scripture reading using a source like Our Daily Bread or to follow the scripture teachings in a book like The Christian’s Career Journey: Finding the Job God Designed for You by my good friend Susan Britton Whitcomb.   

Developing daily prayer and scripture reading habits while unemployed will lead to having daily prayer and scripture reading habits when you are again employed. Once the value of these habits are established the excuse of not having enough time to read and to pray will never be used again.

The Bible is the single most important book ever written. It is an eyewitness account of historical events of such magnitude that they have literally shaped the world in which we live.  It is also an action book giving us the blueprints for living a life of grace and peace in the middle the challenges and uncertainty of the job search.

Fellowship❸ Fellowship

Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done. If one person falls, the other person can reach out to help. But those who are alone when they fall have no one to help them. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. 

Finding a job can be a lonely enterprise; support systems and associates from work are gone, family and friends are busy with their own lives and careers…depression can easily set in.   Fellowshipping by getting involved with job search support groups can help with the isolation while providing networking and job searching advice.  Go to Job Hunt.org to find a job search support group near you.

Couple Working in Homeless Shelter ❹ Give of Yourself

Gifts can open many doors and help you meet important people. Proverbs 18:16

Being unemployed is not an opportunity for doing nothing.  Our faith demands that we give our talents back to the communityFrom everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded. Luke 12:48 

When we are unemployed it may seem like we don’t have much to give back… but oh we do.  Giving back through volunteer work, a missionary trip or just informally helping out is a way to keep our skills sharp and to develop new skills.  It can also lead to a new job to find out our how from the amazing story of Leslie Ross, in my post The Value of Giving Back

The Bottom Line: The Divine Diversion of Unemployment

portrait of a group of people standing togetherThe Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 

Unemployment is a diversion in the path of our lives… and even as people of faith we have to wonder why God would allow such a destructive disruption.  However scripture is filled with divine diversions where God has used the trouble encountered to make more of our lives than we would have if we had stuck to our original plans.

Think of Joseph. God diverted him to Egypt to prepare him to rescue God’s chosen people from starvation. Or of Moses, who was diverted from the luxurious lifestyle of Pharaoh’s house to meet God in the wilderness in preparation to lead God’s people toward the Promised Land. Or of Joseph and Mary to whom the angel announced the most significant diversion of all.

Getting God in Charge of Our Job Search transforms the despair of unemployment into a divine diversion where we become closer to God and the true meaning of what He has for our lives.  That is why my prayer for all who are unemployed is to Get God In Charge of Your Job Search.

Marben Bland is a LinkedIn Certified Recruiter, an In demand Job Coach and an Award winning Speaker/Writer.  Visit his website www.marbenbland.com for more posts or contact him at marben@marbenbland.com

 

 


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A Soldier’s Last Letter Home

Private First Class Jesse Givens had been in Iraq for a less than a month. The 34 year old married with a stepson and a new son on the way was unable to shake a sense of dread – and a need to say goodbye to his family. A month later Melissa Givens, Jesse’s 27-year-old widow while going through her husband’s personal effects fond a letter that simply said “Open after my death”. This is Jesse’s goodbye to his wife, Melissa, his stepson Dakota and his unborn son Bean.

On this Veteran’s Day as we wind down the longest war in American history the war in Afghanistan.  I would like to share with you the true cost for those who served in uniform and their families in a soldier’s last letter home from the war that just ended the war in Iraq.

Private First Class Jesse Givens had been in Iraq for a less than a month.  The 34 year old married with a stepson and a new son on the way was unable to shake a sense of dread – and a need to say goodbye to his family.

On May 1, as he helped to snuff fires set by insurgents, his tank crashed through a berm and fell into a canal off the Euphrates River. The rest of the crew escaped through a hatch, but Givens was trapped inside. Of all the dangers they were warned about, of all the terrible scenarios that went through the minds of his family, it was a scene nobody imagined:

Jesse Givens husband, father and father to be drowned in the desert.

A month later Melissa Givens, Jesse’s 27-year-old widow while going through her husband’s personal effects fond a letter that simply said “Open after my death”.   This is Jesse’s goodbye to his wife, Melissa, his stepson Dakota and his unborn son Bean.

My family:

I never thought I would be writing a letter like this, I really don’t know where to start. I’ve been getting bad feelings though and well if you are reading this . . .

I searched all my life for a dream and I found it in you. . . . The happiest moments in my life all deal with my little family. You will never know how complete you have made me. Each and every one of you. You saved me from loneliness and taught me how to think beyond myself. You taught me how to live and to love. You opened my eyes to a world I never even dreamed existed . . .

Dakota, you are more son than I could ever ask for. I can only hope I was half the dad. You taught me how to care until it hurts, you taught me how to smile again. You taught me that life isn’t so serious and sometimes you have to play. You have a big beautiful heart. Through life you need to keep it open and follow it. Never be afraid to be yourself. I will always be there in our park when you dream so we can still play together. I hope someday you will have a son like mine. Make them smile and shine just like you. I hope someday you will understand why I didn’t come home. Please be proud of me. Please don’t stop loving life. Take in every breath like it’s your first. I will always be there with you. I’ll be in the sun, shadows, dreams, and joys of your life.

Bean, I never got to see you but I know in my heart you are beautiful. I will always have with me the feel of the soft nudges on your mom’s belly, and the joy I felt when we found out you were on the way. I dream of you every night, and I always will. Don’t ever think that since I wasn’t around that I didn’t love you. You were conceived of love and I came to this terrible place for love. Please understand that I had to be gone so that I could take care of my family. I love you Bean.

I have never been so blessed as the day I met you Melissa. You are my angel, soulmate, wife, lover, and my best friend. I am sorry. I did not want to have to write this letter. There is so much more I need to say, so much more I need to share. A million lifetimes’ worth. I married you for a million lifetimes. That’s how long I will be with you. Please keep our babies safe. Please find it in your heart to forgive me for leaving you alone. . . . Do me a favor, after you tuck Toad and Bean in, give them hugs and kisses from me. Go outside look at the stars and count them. Don’t forget to smile.

Love Always

Your husband

Jess

Private First Class Jesse Givens – Thank you for your service.

3 Costly LinkedIn Profile Mistakes

Your LinkedIn profile allows you to directly control the first impression recruiters, customers and fellow professionals get when seeing you online. Despite the growing importance of the impression gained by an effective LinkedIn profile a number of professionals are making profile mistakes which are costing them potential jobs, customers and professional opportunities.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with 175 million members and growing.  LinkedIn’s ascendancy makes having a profile on the social media site a must for any job searcher, small business owner, or corporate professional.  Why?  Because LinkedIn gives you the keys to controlling your online identity in Google and other searches LinkedIn profiles typically rises to the top of search results.  Your LinkedIn profile allows you to directly control the first impression recruiters, customers and fellow professionals get when seeing you online.

Despite the growing importance of the impression gained by an effective LinkedIn profile a number of professionals are making profile mistakes which are costing them potential jobs, customers and professional opportunities.

What effect does your LinkedIn profile have…?

  • On your job search?
  • On how your customers find you?
  • On your online image?

This quick quiz will provide a measurement to gage if you a making any of the 3 costly LinkedIn profile mistakes.

  1. Is Your Profile100% Complete?  – A LinkedIn profile basically acts as an online resume giving recruiters, customers and professional contacts access to your experience, thoughts and interests.  LinkedIn estimates that you are 40 times more likely to get found in a LinkedIn search if your profile is complete.  Click on this link to find how to get your profile to 100% complete    Give yourself 10 points if your profile is 100% complete.
  2. Are you a member of at least one group?– LinkedIn groups provides an opportunity to join other industry professionals adding value to your own profile and helping you to get found by other industry contacts.  Click on this link to find out more about groups   Give yourself 10 points for each group you are a member of.
  3. Request recommendations – Obviously don’t ask everyone, especially if you don’t know them that well. But having recommendations will help your profile to stand out and will help to build trust in your reputation to visiting users. This will help improve the visibility of your own profile within internal LinkedIn searches as well.   Find out more about LinkedIn Recommendations by clicking on this link

Scoring: 

0-10:  You are in need of a LinkedIn profile makeover

10-50: Your profile is good but could use some work

50 & Above: Wonderful you have an effective profile

 

The Bottom Line  

LinkedIn makes much of its money by charging an elite group of corporate recruiters’ big money for the right to sift through member profiles, hunting for great candidates to hire. Old or threadbare profiles aren’t much use to recruiters. In contrast, profiles that sparkle with members’ latest awards, new job responsibilities and fresh professional qualifications are regarded as treasure.   I hope you will make your profile a treasure.

3 Cool Career Tips

I am an entrepreneur. I am a thought leader on social media marketing and job search tactics. I make keynote speeches, conduct seminars, and write blogs, articles and books. I coach corporate leaders, produce content, market and sell my services for a living. I travel a lot, meet a lot great people and at this stage of the game make a fraction of my corporate salary. However, I have never been challenged as much, I have never used my brain more and I have never been happier.

While I will never say that I won’t go back to the corporate life. I do know that I have learned at least 3 cool things that will hold me in great stead in whatever I do. I present them to you with the hope they will enhance your career.

I am an entrepreneur.  I am a thought leader on social media marketing and job search tactics.  I make keynote speeches, conduct seminars, and write blogs, articles and books. I coach corporate leaders, produce content, market and sell my services for a living.  I travel a lot, meet a lot great people and at this stage of the game make a fraction of my corporate salary. However, I have never been challenged as much, I have never used my brain more and I have never been happier.

While I will never say that I won’t go back to the corporate life.  I do know that I have learned at least 3 cool things that will hold me in great stead in whatever I do.  I present them to you with the hope they will enhance your career.

 1. Never Stop Learning

In order to be (and stay) competitive in your industry, you need to develop expertise. You need to enhance and expand your knowledge base, and you need to update it regularly. Armed with that knowledge, you can show your stakeholders—your investors, your board, or your clients—that they’re getting the best.

So, on an ongoing basis, take an honest look at your skill set and ensure that it reflects the latest trends and developments in your field. Read a lot. Make a regular effort to scan blogs and news articles, attend lectures and seminars, enroll in online or local classes, and find training opportunities in your market.  Yes, this demands an investment of time and resources, but the payoff will come in the form of your new, competitive skills.

2. Nurture Your Relationships

Anyone who runs his or her own business knows that good relationships can mean the difference between success and failure. Surrounding yourself with people who are smart, capable, connected, and interested in helping others gives you access to a wide range of resources—plus, the opportunity to learn from those who’ve “been there.”

Joining professional groups and being active on social media platforms, including Twitter and LinkedIn, are easy ways to start. Comment on the blogs of people you respect—they will notice. (Your comments to this blog are welcomed!!!) You can also create a “Mastermind Group,” a small group of like-minded professionals that meets regularly to share expertise, discuss challenges, and hold each other accountable to goals.

3. Take Risks

Very few successful people got to where they are by playing it safe. So, whether you plan to start your own business or not, consider developing the frame of mind of a risk-taker.

The greatest opportunities involve some measure of risk. And yes, you need to prepare yourself for that course. But, you also need to believe in yourself. You need to know that you have the strength to weather potential failures. And then, ultimately, you just need to go for it.

The Bottom Line

Over the years, I’ve met many successful business owners, corporate chieftains, and faith leaders. In working with these people, I’ve found that the most prolific of them all embrace the same foundational strategies for success: they rely on others, but they know that their very best resources lie within themselves.

So the real cool career tip is this:Each one of us is our own best investment. Devoting time, energy, and resources to bettering ourselves is the most effective way to reach our full potential and ensure success for the future.  ….. Live long and prosper!!!

 

10 Money Saving Tips for Savvy Travers

Over the years I met some really savvy travelers who have devised some brilliant and innovative ways to stretch a buck. You don’t have to be a frequent flyer to save money, all you have to be is a traveler with a desire to get the best for less. If you are that kind of traveler here are 10 money saving tips from my savvy traveling friends.

I travel a lot and as a small business owner I am always looking for ways  to save money while providing a level of conform that will allow me to arrive at my destination refreshed and ready to do my best.   Over the years I have met some really savvy travelers who have devised some brilliant and innovative ways to stretch a buck.   You don’t have to be a frequent flyer to save money, all you have to be is a traveler with a desire to get the best for less.  If you are that kind of traveler here are 10 money saving tips from my savvy traveling friends.

Food

Sure saving money on airfare is great but how often is saving money on food as we travel is  overlooked. Our first 3 tips can help stretch your dollars while having a tasty dining experience. 

1. Book Accommodations That Serve Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and one you shouldn’t skip to save money. Before booking your accommodation, make sure they include breakfast in the rate. That way, you can fill up on free food and eat lighter later in the day.

2. Plan Your Meals – Figure out where you will be and eat before you actually go out. This is not just good for your wallet, but your stomach too since you will probably find economical restaurants that tastes great.

3. Stay At Accommodations With Kitchens
Grocery shopping and cooking your own meals is not only healthy, but also budget-friendly. It’s also fun to discover new grocery items you don’t have at home. Even if you don’t want to cook every meal, incorporating it into your eating itinerary will save you a lot of money.

4.Pack Your Own Food For The Airport & The Flight
Let’s face it airports have mastered the food business, the selections even in the small regional airports are rather good as the major fast food players, Subway, McDonald’s and alike are now feeding travelers. However, the prices for that Big Mac or foot long sub are typically 10-20% higher than their off-airport locations.   The TSA will allow passengers to bring sealed packages of store bought and homemade food.  Clearly your selection will be better and you will save a ton of money.  Save big money on water by bringing your own TSA approved empty bottles and simply filling them at airport water fountains.

Transportation    

We all know about Expedia, Priceline and other online booking sites for travel.  Here are 4 tips that can save money as we go beyond the box of air travel.

5. Night Train and Flights – If the transportation is going to be long, consider traveling at night to save money on accommodation and many hours of time. Many people have a tough time sleeping on these, but it’s all mental. Once you get used to it, you will be able to have a good night’s rest.

6. Take the Slower Transportation – If flying is too short for you to take advantage of sleeping while traveling, take a bus ride. When you are sleeping, you won’t mind that the bus ride is 7 hours.

7. Car Rental Coverage – Some insurance and many credit cards have car rental coverage so take advantage of those when you rent a car. All you have to do is pay with the credit card that will cover you. (Just make sure you decline the coverage from the rental company when they ask)

8. Gas Up The Rental Car – If you are renting a car and need fuel, just fill her up with regular gas since that’s what the car rental company uses anyway. Also, decline those services that fills the gas tank up for you. Even though it seems like the advertised price is cheap, they charge you for a full tank of gas regardless of how much is left in there when you bring the car back.

Discounts

The world of travel discounts are there for the taking.  Tips 9 and 10 are about finding and taking those discounts.

9. Reward Points – Even if you aren’t a frequent traveler, sign up for those reward programs since you might qualify eventually. It’s all free anyway and if you finally get enough points, you can get always get something free.

10. Age, Student and Membership Discounts – Many attractions like theme parks, museums and others have discounts for senior, children or students. If you are traveling, remember to take your ID and membership cards (e.g. AAA card) with you that might qualify you for these.

Bonus Tip: Ask

You will be amazed by the upgrades, discounts and freebies that can be obtained by simply asking.  However, be aware that the key to asking… and then receiving is to be nice.  I urge you to be nice to the front desk clerk, the person behind the rental car counter and always the airline employee.   These folks have a difficult job and they deal daily with a fair share of gruff.   A smiling, pleasant and understanding attitude from you will go a long way toward the savings you deserve.     

The Bottom Line

I have always viewed travel even business travel as a wonderful adventure; however the adventure can be so much more fun when you are saving money.  Save travels and have fun saving.

P.S. I am always looking for ways to save money during my travels and to pass those money saving tips to others.  Join the fun send me your tips to me at marben@marbenbland.conm .  I will pass them along in my next travel tip blog.   

When not traveling Marben Bland is the CEO of The Marben Bland Group a consulting firm focused on high-performance leadership, career coaching and business innovation.  Send your comments to marben@marbenbland.com

 

Five Leadership Lessons From James T. Kirk – By Alex Knapp – Forbes Magazine

On his five-year mission commanding the U.S.S. Enterprise, as well as subsequent commands, James T. Kirk was a quintessential leader, who led his crew into the unknown and continued to succeed time and time again.
Kirk’s success was no fluke, either. His style of command demonstrates a keen understanding of leadership and how to maintain a team that succeeds time and time again, regardless of the dangers faced. Here are five of the key leadership lessons that you can take away from Captain Kirk as you pilot your own organization into unknown futures.

Alex Knapp is the social media editor and a staff writer at Forbes Magazine.   Recently Alex posted an excellent look at leadership from the perspective of none other than James T. Kirk of Commander of the Starship Enterprise.  With attribution to Alex Knapp, I am re-posting his blog comments for my Smart Job Search readers.    

Captain James T. Kirk is one of the most famous Captains in the history of Starfleet. There’s a good reason for that. He saved the planet Earth several times, stopped the Doomsday Machine, helped negotiate peace with the Klingon Empire, kept the balance of power between the Federation and the Romulan Empire, and even managed to fight Nazis. On his five-year mission commanding the U.S.S. Enterprise, as well as subsequent commands, James T. Kirk was a quintessential leader, who led his crew into the unknown and continued to succeed time and time again.

Kirk’s success was no fluke, either. His style of command demonstrates a keen understanding of leadership and how to maintain a team that succeeds time and time again, regardless of the dangers faced.  Here are five of the key leadership lessons that you can take away from Captain Kirk as you pilot your own organization into unknown futures.

1. Never Stop Learning

“You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But there’s no such thing as the unknown– only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.”

Captain Kirk may have a reputation as a suave ladies man, but don’t let that exterior cool fool you. Kirk’s reputation at the Academy was that of a “walking stack of books,” in the words of his former first officer, Gary Mitchell. And a passion for learning helped him through several missions. Perhaps the best demonstration of this is in the episode “Arena,” where Kirk is forced to fight a Gorn Captain in single combat by advanced beings. Using his own knowledge and materials at hand, Kirk is able to build a rudimentary shotgun, which he uses to defeat the Gorn.

If you think about it, there’s no need for a 23rd Century Starship Captain to know how to mix and prepare gunpowder if the occasion called for it. After all, Starfleet officers fight with phasers and photon torpedoes. To them, gunpowder is obsolete. But the same drive for knowledge that drove Kirk to the stars also caused him to learn that bit of information, and it paid off several years later.

In the same way, no matter what your organization does, it helps to never stop learning. The more knowledge you have, the more creative you can be. The more you’re able to do, the more solutions you have for problems at your disposal. Sure, you might never have to face down a reptilian alien on a desert planet, but you never know what the future holds.

Knowledge is your best key to overcoming whatever obstacles are in your way.

2. Have Advisors With Different Worldviews

“One of the advantages of being a captain, Doctor, is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it.”

Kirk’s closest two advisors are Commander Spock, a Vulcan committed to a philosophy of logic, and Dr. Leonard McCoy, a human driven by compassion and scientific curiosity. Both Spock and McCoy are frequently at odds with each other, recommended different courses of action and bringing very different types of arguments to bear in defense of those points of view. Kirk sometimes goes with one, or the other, or sometimes takes their advice as a springboard to developing an entirely different course of action.

However, the very fact that Kirk has advisors who have a different worldview not only from each other, but also from himself, is a clear demonstration of Kirk’s confidence in himself as a leader. Weak leaders surround themselves with yes men who are afraid to argue with them. That fosters an organizational culture that stifles creativity and innovation, and leaves members of the organization afraid to speak up. That can leave the organization unable to solve problems or change course. Historically, this has led to some serious disasters, such as Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Organizations that allow for differences of opinion are better at developing innovation, better at solving problems, and better at avoiding groupthink. We all need a McCoy and a Spock in our lives and organizations.

3. Be Part Of The Away Team

“Risk is our business. That’s what this starship is all about. That’s why we’re aboard her.”

Whenever an interesting or challenging mission came up, Kirk was always willing to put himself in harm’s way by joining the Away Team. With his boots on the ground, he was always able to make quick assessments of the situation, leading to superior results. At least, superior for everyone with a name and not wearing a red shirt. Kirk was very much a hands-on leader, leading the vanguard of his crew as they explored interesting and dangerous situations.

When you’re in a leadership role, it’s sometimes easy to let yourself get away from leading Away Team missions. After all, with leadership comes perks, right? You get the nice office on the higher floor. You finally get an assistant to help you with day to day activities, and your days are filled with meetings and decisions to be made, And many of these things are absolutely necessary. But it’s sometimes easy to trap yourself in the corner office and forget what life is like on the front lines. When you lose that perspective, it’s that much harder to understand what your team is doing, and the best way to get out of the problem. What’s more, when you’re not involved with your team, it’s easy to lose their trust and have them gripe about how they don’t understand what the job is like.

This is a lesson that was actually imprinted on me in one of my first jobs, making pizzas for a franchise that doesn’t exist anymore. Our general manager spent a lot of time in his office, focused on the paperwork and making sure that we could stay afloat on the razor-thin margins we were running. But one thing he made sure to do, every day, was to come out during peak times and help make pizza. He didn’t have to do that, but he did. The fact that he did so made me like him a lot more. It also meant that I trusted his decisions a lot more. In much the same way, I’m sure, as Kirk’s crew trusted his decisions, because he knew the risks of command personally.

4. Play Poker, Not Chess

“Not chess, Mr. Spock. Poker. Do you know the game?”

In one of my all-time favorite Star Trek episodes, Kirk and his crew face down an unknown vessel from a group calling themselves the “First Federation.”  Threats from the vessel escalate until it seems that the destruction of the Enterprise is imminent. Kirk asks Spock for options, who replies that the Enterprise has been playing a game of chess, and now there are no winning moves left. Kirk counters that they shouldn’t play chess – they should play poker. He then bluffs the ship by telling them that the Enterprise has a substance in its hull called “corbomite” which will reflect the energy of any weapon back against an attacker. This begins a series of actions that enables the Enterprise crew to establish peaceful relations with the First Federation.

I love chess as much as the next geek, but chess is often taken too seriously as a metaphor for leadership strategy. For all of its intricacies, chess is a game of defined rules that can be mathematically determined. It’s ultimately a game of boxes and limitations. A far better analogy to strategy is poker, not chess. Life is a game of probabilities, not defined rules. And often understanding your opponents is a much greater advantage than the cards you have in your hand. It was knowledge of his opponent that allowed Kirk to defeat Khan in Star Trek II by exploiting Khan’s two-dimensional thinking. Bluffs, tells, and bets are all a big part of real-life strategy. Playing that strategy with an eye to the psychology of our competitors, not just the rules and circumstances of the game  can often lead to better outcomes than following the rigid lines of chess.

5. Blow up the Enterprise

“‘All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.’ You could feel the wind at your back in those days. The sounds of the sea beneath you, and even if you take away the wind and the water it’s still the same. The ship is yours. You can feel her. And the stars are still there, Bones.”

One recurring theme in the original Star Trek series is that Kirk’s first love is the Enterprise. That love kept him from succumbing to the mind-controlling spores in “This Side of Paradise,” and it’s hinted that his love for the ship kept him from forming any real relationships or starting a family. Despite that love, though, there came a point in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, where Captain Kirk made a decision that must have pained him enormously – in order to defeat the Klingons attacking him and save his crew, James Kirk destroyed the Enterprise. The occasion, in the film, was treated with the solemnity of a funeral, which no doubt matched Kirk’s mood. The film ends with the crew returning to Vulcan on a stolen Klingon vessel, rather than the Enterprise. But they returned victorious.

We are often, in our roles as leaders, driven by a passion. It might be a product or service, it might be a way of doing things. But no matter how much that passion burns within us, the reality is that times change. Different products are created. Different ways of doing things are developed. And there will come times in your life when that passion isn’t viable anymore. A time when it no longer makes sense to pursue your passion. When that happens, no matter how painful it is, you need to blow up the Enterprise. That is, change what isn’t working and embark on a new path, even if that means having to live in a Klingon ship for awhile.

Final Takeaway:

In his many years of service to the Federation, James Kirk embodied several leadership lessons that we can use in our own lives. We need to keep exploring and learning. We need to ensure that we encourage creativity and innovation by listening to the advice of people with vastly different opinions. We need to occasionally get down in the trenches with the members of our teams so we understand their needs and earn their trust and loyalty. We need to understand the psychology of our competitors and also learn to radically change course when circumstances dictate. By following these lessons, we can lead our organizations into places where none have gone before.

3 Golden Truths We Can Learn From The U.S. Women Olympic Team

Female athletes contributed 55% of America’s total medals and 66% of the gold metals. Without women pulling more than their fair share, America would probably have finished a distant second behind China in the medal count.

An Impressive Success!!!

Without question the women of the U.S. Olympic team turned in a specular performance at the 2012 London Olympics.   Their feats were even more remarkable when considering what they were able to collectively accomplish.

  • Of the 5 world records established by the U.S. Olympians during the games all were set by female athletes.  Highlighted by Rebecca Soni who broke her own world record in the 200 meter breaststroke.
  • Female athletes contributed 55% of America’s total medals and 66% of the gold metals. Without women pulling more than their fair share, America would probably have finished a distant second behind China in the medal count.
  • So dominant were the U.S. women that had they seceded to from the men and formed their own team, they would have been third in the medal count.

An impressive success indeed!!!

Our women did more than just kicked butt and took names in London; their extraordinary show of excellence provides three golden truths about gender equality.  These golden truths show the power that gender equality has not only in sports but in every walk of life and what is possible when our nation lives up to the creed; “That all “men and women” are created equal”.

Golden Truth Number One: Leveling the Playing Field Works

There are many reasons why the U.S. women were dominant, but one very clear one is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year: Title IX.   Title IX is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972, mandating equality in college athletic and team sports for women.

Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, gave the legislation full marks in moving America toward dominance in women’s athletics.  “Title IX has fundamentally altered the landscape of what it means to be female and an athlete,” said Kane. “In one generation, we’ve gone from girls hoping there is a team to girls hoping they make the team.”

Golden Truth Number Two: The Distinctive Advantage Women Provide the U.S. Economy  

The United States Olympic Committee sent a total of 539 athletes 261 men 278 women to the Olympics in London to compete in 25 sports.  For the first time in its history, the U.S. was represented by more female than male athletes at an Olympic event.  208 of our athletes won at least one medal and as documented earlier 66% of those metal winners were women

Women comprise 50.9% of the U.S. population.  While countries we compete against like China have a higher number of females in their population the equal access to the tools of economic growth, education, jobs, and capital that the U.S. provides gives our nation a distinctive economic advantage.  Because like our Olympic team when we fully engage our half our population –women, the entire country benefits.   Data from the 2010 census provides strong evidence of the growing power of females in our economy

  • 38% of women 25 and older now hold a bachelor’s degrees a full 10% higher than the corresponding number for men.
  • 28% of all business are owned by women up from 10% from the 2000 census.
  •  7.5 million people are employed by women owned businesses.

 

Golden Truth Number Three: There is More Work to be Done

Despite the splendid performance of the U.S. Women Olympians every athlete knows that there is much more work to do.  Our women will be stiffly challenged in 2014 during the Sochi, Russia Winter Olympic Games.  Nations envious of our female achievements will be gunning for the Americans in 2016 as the games will be staged in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

There is also more work to be done on the economic stage along with the economic gains by woman sighted in the 2010 census we find these nagging realities:

  • Women earn 77.4 cents for every dollar earned by men
  • Women currently hold 4 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions
  • The unemployment rate for men dropped more than 1 percent between 2009 and 2011, while women’s unemployment rate rose about half a percent during that same time.

The Bottom Line

While there’s no question that women’s sports lag behind men’s in attendance and funding, the performance of our woman’s Olympic team proves that Title IX has helped transform the landscape of women’s athletics. In the two generations after its passage, it’s no longer considered unusual for a girl to play sports growing up; indeed, it’s become more unusual for girls not to play a sport. With more girls starting sports, more girls have the opportunity to learn that they like them, and the more girls who play sports as kids, the more women who excel at sports as adults.

However, the torch must be passed from success on playing field to equality in the pay envelope, achievement in the board room, and reduction of the female unemployment rate.   If we can achieve this, the golden truth of the 2012 U.S. Woman’s Olympic team’s triumph will be a golden legacy of greatness for our country.

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The Marben Bland Group houses over 60 professional career consultants, business experts and social media strategies with  20  plus years of collective experience offering a wide range of social media, recruiting and job search services worldwide.