Platform by Michael Hyatt

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012)

For the past 12 months, I’ve been hearing about Michael Hyatt everywhere I turn. And for good reason. Michael is former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, the largest Christian publishing company. So he knows books and platforms, inside out. Since leaving, Michael has developed his own platform that appeals to hundreds of thousands of people around the world. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Michael and learning from him about some of his basic platform building principles.

The dedication of Platform says it all: To all the authors, artists, and creatives I’ve met through the years who have been turned away because they didn’t have a platform. This book is for you. 

Platform is, as the subtitle states, a step-by-step guide for anyone with something to say or sell. This couldn’t be a more accurate title. Each of the 60 chapters clearly and concisely lays out what steps can be taken to launch your platform. Michael is a fabulous teacher and his generosity in sharing every nitty gritty detail of what has and has not worked for him is astounding. I could not have found a more comprehensive resource to help me start on what could be a long, arduous journey. Although the work is still mine, Platform gives me the tools I need to add to my toolbox to get the job done.

Michael Hyatt

Soooo excited to meet Michael Hyatt! Genius.

Love My Enemies?!?

What does that REALLY mean?

Goldfish and Black Cat

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a special event for work – something I have wanted to go to for several years but couldn’t ever make it to. But, this year the stars aligned. Man, was I excited! All the way up until five minutes before curtain. As I was engaged in catching up with an old work friend, my colleague, who had been mysteriously absent from the seat next to me, called to me to join her in the aisle. “This can’t be good”, I thought. It wasn’t.

A Board Member who hadn’t confirmed tickets for the event had arrived. They, obviously thinking they were supposed to be in attendance, convinced Will Call to write them a temporary ticket to get in the door and find their seats. But there were no seats to be found. Except for mine. And so mine it was.

As I stood at the back for the entire two hour event, I seethed. “What numbskull shows up to an event without tickets!?!” “What idiot lets them in on their word that they are supposed to be there!?!” “How entitled do you have to be to not ask why you haven’t received the tickets you thought you were getting and then just show up and convince someone to let you in!?!” “How clueless are you to not realize two obviously lesser people have given up their seats to accommodate your ridiculousness!?!” Ah… the list could go on to infinity. I had two hours to think about it.

I also had two hours to fight the conviction that I am called to love these people. And fight it I did. “They are stupid! I’m the innocent victim! I don’t wanna forgive them! Vindication is what I deserve!” And I wrestled with reality. “They are on the Board of Directors. I simply work for the company. I know my role. Even if I put company politics aside, I know what respect is supposed to look like. I can’t control their behavior, but I can be responsible for my own. I have to take the hit – cheerfully. Or at least with a smile on my face.” And so the war continued. “I don’t wanna.”

In that moment, those people were my enemies. They had interrupted my delight, thwarted my blissful evening, rained on my parade. I wanted to hate them. But the Spirit who lives in me had another plan. He gently whispered, “Love them, as I have loved you.” “The second greatest commandment is this, that you shall love your neighbors as yourself.” “Lay down your life.” “Love your enemies.” And I said, “but I don’t wanna.”

How many times in a week does this happen? We are offended, hurt, wounded. And if we listen to the Truth, we know we are to forgive those who hurt us. But the real Enemy is just as convincing when he whispers in our other ear, “but you deserve better.” His sole purpose in life is to sew discord, discontent and division between us and our Creator. And when we listen to him, that is exactly what happens.

We are surrounded by enemies: the manipulative mother, the abusive father, the slandering co-worker, the guy who cuts us off on the freeway, the terrorist, the corrupt leader who is out for his own gain, the child who screams how much she hates us, the thief, the murderer, the selfish stranger who is consumed with their own needs. We are surrounded. And we are called to love them. To forgive them. Because He first loved us.

When we know Love, the author of Love, the One who created it, only then can we truly love our enemies. Even when the pain remains, it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can attempt that gut-wrenching, unimaginable, self-sacrificing kind of act. But He promises us that we can do all things because He will give us the strength we need.

Love your enemies Matt 5:44

So, when I relented and accepted that loving my enemy meant smiling and offering them my ticket for dinner, all the while nursing the wounds of disappointment and feelings of not mattering, I was able to experience a glimpse of His love for me. He gives me the power to do this, simply because He knows that holding on to my hate will be my end. And He loves me too much to allow that to happen.

When it’s all said and done, it’s very little skin off my nose to offer grace. It’s more about my pride than my nose. So, I try to remember that. When I offer love instead of hate everyone wins. And that everyday enemy? Maybe what I offer them will make the difference they are looking for.

Who is your enemy? How do you love them well? Is it easier for you than it is for me?


Tribes: We Need YOU to Lead Us (New York: Portfolio, 2008)

Seth Godin’s bestselling book, Tribes, is about the fundamental message of essential leadership. Godin elegantly shares what it takes to lead well. Heretics, sheep, crowds, tribes, leaders, movements, fans, status quo… these are just some of the elements that good leaders understand.

So why a tribe? Godin states, “A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have joined tribes… It’s our nature.” If humans are looking for a tribe to join, we need leaders to lead the tribe. Godin does a wonderful job of inspiring and calling us forth to be those leaders.

If you have a message to share and need a little encouragement, this is a great book for you, easy to read and powerful in message!

What message do you share with your tribe? What tribe are you following? Do you have another Seth Godin book that you love?

Three MORE Tips to Nailing the Interview

Hammer and Nail

In the last post about interviewing well, I laid out the first three plays to creating a successful meeting. But there’s more!

In that post, I wrote about that time I smelled a little too good. But what about the one when I told the interviewer that I wasn’t sure I would take the job if it was offered? Say it isn’t so!! I was being honest. But sometimes it’s not the best policy. My own turmoil over wanting to both find a new job and be loyal to my current employer caused me to lose my mind. I would never recommend saying something like that to a potential employer – at least not if you really want the job. #epicinterviewfail

However, I have lots of experience with successfully navigating interview waters – as both the interviewee and the interviewer. Here are three more points that could mean the difference between you and the next applicant.

1. Ask great questions. Show that you have done your research on the company by asking insightful, relevant questions. This will communicate a spirit of initiative, enthusiasm and attention to detail. Their answers will also give you insight into whether or not they are someone with whom you want to be involved. Try some of these:

  • Question WordsAsk about what they do, their processes and expectations.
  • Ask about the team climate. Do employees/members collaborate or work independently? How does the boss like employees to handle conflicts that arise? What is done in the company to promote morale and team building?
  • Spend time before the interview writing out relevant questions to take with you. Even if all your questions are answered during the interview, refer to your list and let them know they hit all your highlights. Ask for elaboration if applicable. This shows them that you really did do your homework and paid attention during the interview.
  • Consider what values need to met for the organization to be a great fit for you. Ask questions that address these values. This tells the interviewers that you are serious about, not just being a great addition, but also finding a place that promotes that ability.

5. Don’t over share. Inevitably the interviewer will ask what your strengths and weaknesses are. They are looking for a perfect candidate. Hopefully they are wise enough to realize that person doesn’t exist. It’s important to be honest with people, but that doesn’t mean airing all your dirty laundry. Remember my disastrous attempt at honesty? Try thinking about it this way.

  • Be prepared to share three areas of strength. Be specific about things you do well and are passionate about, as well as, how those qualities will help the organization to meet their goals. Remember, it’s all about meeting their goals!
  • Be prepared to share UP TO three areas of improvement. Be relevant to the situation. And share how you are working to make those improvements – this is paramount. Give three IF they ask for three, or two if they just ask for some.
  • Remember that you are working to prove why they SHOULD hire you, not why they SHOULDN’T.
  • Have integrity. If the offer is on the table and you know you really don’t have what it takes, respectfully decline. Choosing a job that isn’t the right fit for you creates more stress in your life. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Bird eating prickly pear6. Remember Who is in control. When I applied for one of my first jobs in college, my dear friend gave me words of wisdom I’ve never forgotten. She said, “If God wants you to have the job, you’ll have the job.” The Lord asks us to be good stewards of what he has given us ~ 1 Peter 4:10-11. He also promises to care for us, as he does for the birds of the sky ~ Matthew 6:26. When we do the best we can, to use the talents we have been given and then trust Him for the final outcome, that is better than the best we can hope for. #teameffort

Remember that epic fail I mentioned earlier? It turned out to be God’s providence. He was saving me for the best situation. I did give more information than I should have, but He could have redeemed that if He chose to. I knew in that moment that I would just have to trust Him and believe His goodness. History proves to me that He will never fail.

If you are looking for more in depth help with career direction, check out career coach Dan Miller’s blog and podcast at 48 Days to the Work You Love. He’s the go-to guy!

Have you ever been on the other side of the table? What tips do you have for interviewees? What great question do you always ask an interviewer? Is it as hard for you as it is for me to trust God to bring you the right job?

As You Wish Book

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride (New York: Touchstone, 2014)

If you are like me, you grew up and into The Princess Bride. Probably your vocabulary is full of phrases like, “I’m not a witch, I’m your wife!, He’s been mostly dead all day., Mawwiage., It’s possible. Pig.” … the list goes on and on and on.

And, although I have been a fan since the movie went to VHS and we all discovered it, I knew very little about how it came to be. In this memoir, Cary Elwes gives us the behind-the-scenes action, low-downs and secrets of how the greatest love story ever told became a cult classic that remains a timeless tale of love, adventure and friendship.

Elwes beautifully recounts what a great book, spot-on screenplay, brilliant directing and an all-star cast can pull off. But even more than that, Elwes shares how the friendship and community they developed was one of the greatest treasures a pirate could ever hope to find. As the wildly talented cast lived, worked, ate and laughed together for months of on-location shooting, they created a chemistry and mutual admiration that transcended lines, plot and directing and resulted in a movie that continues to gain fans and followers 25 years later.

My best recommendation is watch the movie, read the book and then watch again. To be disappointed is INCONCEIVABLE!

What is your favorite camp experience? When did you first discover The Princess Bride? Which line do you quote most often?


Three Tips to Nail Your Best Ever Interview

Woman Applicant Giving Thumbs Up

I was working with a young client this week on his interview skills. This young man has never had a job, struggles with social cues and was going on his second-ever interview. He was worried that this interview would make or break his chances. What is true is that he has wonderful qualities to offer an employer and just needed a little help highlighting them. And some confidence that he could do that. As we talked about what he needed to remember during the interview, I realized that even the most experienced interviewees sometimes forget the basics.

One of the worst mistakes I made in an interview was years ago when I was applying for a school counselor position. I had driven in from out of town and was staying with a friend. In my haste to get out the door on time, I sprayed on too much perfume. I nearly made myself sick being cooped up in the car on the drive over. When I arrived, I made a beeline for the bathroom and scrubbed myself down as best I could. But I’m not sure it made a difference. Whether it was the perfume or not, I did not get that job.

Whether you are interviewing for a job, graduate school, Junior League, a volunteer position or even meeting a potential romantic partner, here are three things to remember as you give it your better-than-best shot!

1. Make a great first impression! The adage is true, You never have a second chance to make a great first impression. Simple but profound. Here are some things to pay special attention to:

  • Be well-dressed, paying equal attention to your shoes that they are clean and polished. Your shoes will be the second thing the interviewer notices, according to research. Your attention to them will communicate that you pay attention to details.
  • Be overdressed rather than under-dressed. But be sure your attire is in keeping with the organization for which you are applying. If they are a casual group, be smart casual. A more formal organization needs a suit or comparable dress. And basic navy isn’t necessarily the way to go anymore. Throw in a tasteful splash of color or accessory that shows you have personality.
  • Be comfortable in your attire. Walking in like a new fawn on wobbly high heels won’t make the impression you are looking for. Choose something that allows you to convey confidence and looks like it belongs on you.
  • Shaking HandsOffer a firm handshake. Whether you are a man or a woman, you need to have mastered the art of the confident handshake. This requires full palm-to-palm contact, a firm grip, and direct eye contact. This will be one of the first things your interviewer notices. A wimpy or bone-crushing shake will not communicate the confidence you are hoping to exude.
  • Smile, say “hello” and make eye contact. Although your heart may be in your throat, smiling, greeting them and making direct eye-contact will score you major points on a subconscious level. Meaning, if you fail to do those things you will certainly be marked down. Communicate that you are a friendly, personable applicant.
  • Avoid good smell-ums. Many people are allergic or just don’t like the smell. AND that way you will avoid the accidental overdose, as in my case!

2. Speak clearly and communicate well. When we get nervous our natural tendencies are magnified. It’s important to be aware of how our delivery can affect our overall presentation. If you tend to mumble, speak softly, speak fast, or use lots of garbage words (i.e. uhh, umm, like, etc.) you will do that more when you are nervous. Practice speaking clearly all the time. And remind yourself to slow down and pause periodically during the interview. Here are some more points to remember:

  • Speak clearly, slowly and make sure you are loud enough to be heard by everyone in the room.
  • When you get nervous, take deep breaths and slow down.
  • Ask for clarification if you don’t really understand the question.
  • Ask for a minute to think about the question if you need it (i.e. “That’s a great question. Let me think about that for a minute.”)
  • Give thoughtful answers to each question – don’t just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.
  • Use words that genuinely reflect your thoughts and feelings. Some great ones to include are: valuable addition (aka value add), goals, efficient and effective, resonates, excited, enthusiastic, systems, procedures, culture and climate, initiative, complement, congruent, etc.

3. Sell yourself. Everyone is selling something. Be sure to show the interviewers that you really do have what it takes to improve their organization. Remember that choosing to work for or be a part of something means you believe in their mission and goals. Keep the following in mind to stay on track with communicating just that.

  • Be confident that you are a valuable addition to the team. Even if you aren’t sure this is the right fit for you, be confident that you have what it takes to add value to the organization.
  • Be clear about how you are going to work to help them achieve their goals. This is crucial! That’s why they are hiring you, after all. Address your specific skills that will meet that end.
  • Make frequent eye contact and smile.  Let them know you would be a pleasant and friendly person to work with.
  • Show some personality. Let them have a little glimpse of what a great person you are. Be personable and real.
  • Businessman SweatingLet them know if you are feeling nervous and know it’s affecting your interview. Being honest and helping them to understand how your nerves might be overshadowing the real you could swing the vote back to your favor. Try saying something like, “I’m really excited about working with your organization. But I’m also really nervous. When I get nervous I sometimes talk faster, sweat, shake, etc.” Then smile, take a deep breath and move on. Unless you are on The Apprentice. You have to have nerves of steel there – never let THEM see you sweat!


What tips do you remember when you interview? What is one of your worst interview stories?

For three more tips on nailing the interview, check out my next blog on the subject!

David and Goliath

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants (New York: Back Bay Books, 2013)

I’ve been hearing about Malcolm Gladwell’s book, David and Goliath, for about a year now. Everything I’ve heard from real life people has been positive, but when looking for my next great read, I was a little daunted by the Amazon reviews. However, let me say that this is one of my new all-time favorites!!

Gladwell is a masterful story-teller! He has taken nine little-known stories and woven them together to show how people, and sometimes systems, with perceived disabilities or disadvantages have changed their worlds in big and small ways – because of those very disadvantages!

Gladwell’s ability to engage the reader and share the hope of what it means to find your unique gifts is spectacular. I was enthralled from start to finish, waiting with baited breath for the culmination of the next great story. Gladwell brings home the truth that we all are designed with a purpose and sometimes the only way we discover it is in changing our perspective.

And if my recommendation isn’t enough, check out the 11 pages of testimonials at the beginning of the new paperback version. Stupendous!

Do you have a favorite Gladwell book? Who do you know who has changed their world as a result of what someone else considered a disadvantage? Who is your giant?