Stop Getting Ready to Get Ready in 2010!

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As 2009 rolls to an end, I have to say I’m pretty impressed. Looking ahead to 2010, I’m even MORE optimistic than I imagined just a few short months ago. It is times like these that opportunities are seized by the astute, leaders rise from the ranks of “the people”, and those who are on the verge of greatness are lining up their next remarkable move.

Early in my professional career, a supervisor once described me as “always seeming to be getting ready to get ready”. Every time since when I have felt like my career was stalling, I hear her voice echoing those painfully honest words in my head and it fires me up to take action.

During the 4th quarter of this year, I’ve been working on a project for one of my largest clients delivering job search skills to out of work people of a very large county in Southern California where the unemployment rate is nearly 15%! From PhD’s to a few folks re-entering the workforce after incarceration and every kind of person in between, I have met some amazing people. No matter their background, nationality, education level, or tax bracket, this project has reminded me of some fundamentals of success that will always exist:

1. Attitude determines opportunity.
2. Opportunity is all around us each day.
3. Each day brings another day for us to adjust our actions (and attitude).

Please don’t think I mean to suggest change is easy…it isn’t. However, in each of the boot camps I have heard stories of attendees who took specific action as result of the conversations we had in class. Something convinced them to change their behaviors and perspective on how to find a job. In at least two cases, those who took immediate action by implementing some new techniques secured a firm job opportunity BEFORE THE END OF THE FOUR DAY BOOT CAMP!

When you know deep down it is time to try something new and break away from old habits that aren’t bringing the success you desire, don’t wait until you are “100% ready” to take action. A good friend once told me, “When you are 80% ready, try something new. You can’t make necessary adjustments or try a second time until you have done it once, first!”

During this holiday season, take some time to enjoy what you enjoy in your life today, and I challenge you to consider making some bold moves in the year to come and unlock the remarkable success you really deserve! You won’t regret it.

Want to be held accountable? Post 1-3 goals you WILL ACHIEVE in 2010 as a comment to this post. We’ll follow up with ya!

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Not Quite Bear Grylls or Steve Irwin…More Like Kevin Costner…sort of.

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Today I:
(a) Woke up in a hotel room and realized I’d forgotten dress shoes and belt
(b) Went to WalMart before 7AM in slacks and running shoes while holding up my dress pants
(c) Spoke to students from 4 different High Schools (they all came over to Frederick High School to hear me)
(d) Hiked within 100 yards of an American Bison…in the same field….with NO FENCE between us
(e) Stood atop a dam built in 1933
(f) All of the above.

For those of us who stay on the go (like Peter Shankman), you have to take your recreation time when you can (Shankman skydives, I hike and run). Today, I had a few extra hours to burn in the afternoon, so I went exploring at the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.

This place is REALLY COOL! There’s a few nights sleeping in my tent to happen here real soon.

Enjoy the footage!

The next time you hit the road for work….steal some time and visit a museum, take a hike, or…reenact the “tatonka” scene from Dances with Wolves!


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Man + Twitter Profile Pic + Peer Pressure = Social Media Success

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Earlier today, I ran into a friend of mine (we’ll call him JB..no, not that one…the other one) who works in corporate communication for a large regional bank. He’s a terrific fellow whom I have known for several years. Everyone I know who knows him has nothing to say but how great a person he is, how professional he is, and how passionate he is…..about his bicycle.

His bicycle?

You see, JB is a Twitter user. He doesn’t go overboard with it, but he regularly posts tweets for his friends and followers (currently about 300). Often times, he tweets about his bike. I mean, he is a Dad and all, but he LOVES his bike. I’m just jealous because I am ready to trade in my running shoes (at least a couple days a week) for the adventures that await me in the saddle….but we digress.

SO, realizing that JB’s followers were beginning to mention his place of employment and ask him information about the Bank itself, he started thinking about his “online image”. Careful not to post anything inflamatory (EVER) and always helpful, JB decided to change his profile pic to something more….professional.

Well, within MINUTES of his next tweet, his followers let him know what they thought about the new picture…THEY HATED IT! What’s wrong with a corporate, black and white head shot for someone who holds a professional position at a respected company as the profile pic on Twitter….well, apparently EVERYTHING!

JB’s picture (which was QUICKLY restored) is one from a function he attended several years ago. It features his trademark smile along with the corniest, Woody-from-Toy-Story-look-alike, cowboy hat perched atop his noggin.

The Redux:

If you want to connect with your followers on Twitter (After all, what is SOCIAL Media without the Social?) do the following:

  1. Be relevant and timely
  2. Be yourself
  3. Keep your profile pic a little corny
  4. Drop @jboudiette a tweet to let him know you love the hat!

Credit Where It’s Due:Bold

The role of JB was played by @jboudiette.
The role of peer pressure was played by @NatLoveBug, @jroby, @Nnascenczi, @beckyendicott, and @mattgalloway.

The obnoxious blogger who took this story to the web? @CookseyConnects


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How to Get The Most of Any Networking Opportunity

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You’ve heard me say time and again how much “success” is such a subjective term. Perception is a powerful aspect of how we as people and professionals (as if those are two different things) are viewed, it is amazing to me how many of us still miss the point from time to time.

Just this week, I was invited to visit a networking event with one of my clients, whom I have networked with for years. My travel schedule makes it tough for me to be a regular member of a group that meets weekly, but I figured it could be a fun way to meet some new people. When it came time for my 60-second commercial (as a guest I was granted 120-seconds), I glanced down at a few notes I’d scribbled on an index card and just started talking. They laughed. They smiled. We connected. Isn’t that the goal? At the end of the meeting, several people in the group requested the opportunity to meet one-on-one over coffee to learn more, and one fellow even handed me a referral AT THE MEETING!

Here are a few tips to get the most out of any networking opportunity. Try these the next time you walk into a room full of strangers. You never know where your next opportunity or client will come from:

  1. BE CONFIDENT – You are who you say you are, if your actions are confident. You are a subject matter expert for what you do…ACT LIKE ONE! [Need help in this department? Visit a local Toastmasters club!]
  2. TELL A QUICK STORY – Which do you think is more memorable: a) “Hello, my name is ______ and I work for _________.” or b) “**insert a quick 30-45 second story about how you solved someone else’s problem**:..
  3. LET THEM KNOW HOW TO GET MORE INFO ABOUT YOU – Two great ways to do this are: a) direct them to YOUR website (ask them to connect with you on a professional, social networking site like “LinkedIn” or if your organization has a “Fan Page” on Facebook, direct them there or b) Tell the audience to ask the person who invited you to the meeting to tell them how you successfully worked with them! What’s better than a live, word-of-mouth success story from a CLIENT!?

Above all…If you don’t have any business cards (hey, sometimes we forget them or run out)…make sure to get one from everyone in the room and make it a point to follow up with each one directly! Anyone remember the hand-written note? It works! Now…get out there a find some business!


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Why I Don't Like Suze Orman's Advice (Or, Why Variable Annuities CAN Work)

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My speaker’s intro includes something about my self-description of being a “recovering financial advisor”. It’s true. I was in the business of giving financial advice for over 8 years, during which I saw some amazingly interesting market events – good and bad.

One of the most consistent things I saw, though, was a number of media-described “experts” on financial matters, who often gave blanket, broad-brushed advice that didn’t always tell the entire story. While I can’t say that everything she has ever said is bad, generally speaking, I don’t care too much for the scrubbed-for-the-lowest-common-denominator-sound-bite-media advice dished out by people like Suze Orman.

First here’s a clip of her somewhat infamous bad call from a show on CNBC from a few years ago. Before the days of YouTube, it circulated among emails of many financial pros as a laughable example of her being called out by a viewer….just note how angry her face gets when she realizes what the screener didn’t screen out….

Then, today, I received an email from an industry trade group with further proof that NO SINGLE INVESTMENT is ALWAYS BAD (or good) – see this article. As the old saying goes, I guess “Every Dog (truly) Has His Day”. Go figure – then, get with a true financial pro to find a plan that works for YOU.

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Hey, OKC! Are you "Motivated"?

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I had a chance to see the “Get Motivated” tour in Tulsa, last year, at the BOk Center. I’ve seen a lot of tweets today from you about the “GM” stop in Oklahoma City.

Please leave your thoughts and comments below. I’m planning to follow up, myself, but want to hear your comments first!


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Bueller…..Bueller…… Ben Stein Got THIS One Right!

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Yeah, I’m of the age that first remembers Ben Stein as the teacher who droned over and over while calling roll in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – one of my favorite teen movies of all times.

Well, here’s a recent clip he delivered for CBS on what President Obama REALLY meant about meetings…something I REALLY care about, since I’m a corporate trainer and speaking professional.

What do you think? Watch the video and reply with your thoughts. I’d like to hear your opinions. Go ahead!


Watch CBS Videos Online



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The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur… Learn how Cooksey CONNECTED!

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Friend and fans-

Just a quick note to let you know I was quoted this week on the Blog of “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur”. What is THAT all about, you ask? Well, check it out HERE! (Be sure to scroll down to #30 on the list!) – Scott

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Can General Motors Pull This Off?

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If you think I’m bit nuts today, blame Larry Winget! This guy has the intestinal fortitude of a giant, and I have to say I agree with more of his recent blog post than I don’t. (CAUTION: It contains some stronger language than is comfortable for some, so if you’re squeamish, skip it…If you can handle it, HERE IT IS). [For the record, I still like LeBron James, but I get Larry’s point.]

On to MY post:

As you may know, I spent the 10 years or so of my professional life working with investments. First as a bank trust officer who helped install new 401k and other employee benefit plans into companies of all sizes, then later as a personal financial adviser. Over the years, I have found that most people in the general public simply don’t take time to stop and truly think about their investments. Instead, they simply rely on what other people tell them to be the truth. Therein lies the issue.

Financial advisers are the people who are left to help when a widow has earned their title. For the “traditionalist generations” (those born ahead of the Baby Boomers), too often these “blue haired ladies” would be handling their financial affairs the way their deceased spouse had told them to. Though they never told me, their actions said their spouses had said to them:

  • You can always put money into a Certificate of Deposit (CD) at the bank, because it’s FDIC insured if something should happen to the bank
  • Cash is king
  • The “Blue Chip” stocks in our investment account will always be there.

If I may, I’d like to respond to these facts.

  • On CDs: Yes, you can always put money into a CD, but sometimes there are other VERY SAFE INVESTMENT OPTIONS that can offer you a better return without much more risk. Sure, you may not have FDIC coverage (something instituted by the federal government during the Great Depression), but that’s not always a bad thing.For example: If your only criteria is “FDIC Coverage”, you are limited to bank deposits as an investment. The banks know this, and often offer very low rates of return in exchange for using your money to make more for themselves. I’m not against banks making money, but know that your ENTIRE INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO might serve you better if some of that money is invested in something else like a FIXED Annuity. When used correctly, these can prove to be a nice CD complement or alternative.
  • On Cash: If you plan on living off of your investments for some time, you need one of two things: a large account full of money or a diversified portfolio. I can’t tell you how many times I’d see someone come up to me in a 401k enrollment meeting or into my financial adviser office saying “I’m going to retire next year, what do you think?” Then they’d show me an account with a balance of about $30,000. When I asked, “How much money do you think you’ll need to get through a year?”, the reality would set in and these folks would look at me as if they’d never considered that question. In short, to get where you want to be LONG TERM, investments in something other than cash are going to prove VERY important…unless you happen to start with or fall into a very large bucket of money.
  • On Blue Chip Stocks: “Blue Chip” stocks are those that are typically thought of as the larger, more established companies that “should always be around”. Often times, these are exemplified by the stocks of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), an index used to represent the “overall market”. Here’s a fact too many people don’t know: the components (or stocks) used to calculate the DJIA CHANGE! Sure, some companies like General Electric have been a DJIA component since 1907…But, two of the component stocks (General Motors, since 1925 & Citigroup, since 1997) are being replaced on June 8, 2009. Earlier this year, other victims of the financial and economic meltdown were also replaced in the DJIA.

This morning, I ran across a website dedicated to the “re-invention of General Motors“. While I know there is a tremendous amount of pride in this, one of the “big three US automakers”, there is much to be done to pull this one off.

Somewhere along the way, I say a LONG LONG time ago, General Motors ceased operating as an automobile manufacturing company, and became “a large pension plan that happened to also make cars”. I’ll save my complete diatribe for another posting, but the point is this. General Motors (along with other over-sized companies) fell victim to its own success. Somewhere along the way, decisions were made likely based more on emotion than facts, pressure from unions vs. other labor options, and arrogance over intelligence. For those investors who didn’t take time to keep up with the health of the companies in which they were invested, GM’s recent bankruptcy filing was a rude awakening, as all of that former “blue chip stock” almost immediately dropped to a value of pennies on the dollar.

Can GM pull off this “re-invention” and save itself as it claims in this video? I don’t know. But to the millions of people who have learned that “doing what you’ve always done won’t always get you what you’ve always gotten” the hard way…let’s hope so!

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Cooksey Connects with SkillPath Seminars

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Tulsa, OK- D. Scott Cooksey, Senior Consultant and Trainer at Cooksey Connects, has recently been certified as a Faculty Trainer with SkillPath Seminars, based in Mission, KS.

“Delivering services around the world, SkillPath Seminars is truly a global leader among corporate training firms. To be able to work with the people of SkillPath and work as a member of such a great team of professionals is truly an honor!”, said Cooksey. “The proven quality of exclusive resources, topics and track record of success is a perfect match for the level of quality training for which Cooksey Connects is known. I’m very excited to be part of this team, and look forward to working with their clients for a long time to come.”

Learn more about D. Scott Cooksey and Cooksey Connects at www.CookseyConnects.com.

Learn more about SkillPath Seminars at www.SkillPath.com.



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