Accept the Challenge to Connect With Success


Last week, I had the distinct honor of presenting to a community bank in Oklahoma for their officers and personal bankers.  A bank with over 108 years of history had invited me in to deliver a motivational speech about change- a topic they have placed an emphasis on for the past several months.  Over the past few months, multiple trainers and consultants have delivered their material to many of the same people.  This time, however, something was different.  There was a CONNECTION.

By being introduced as a nationally known consultant with a 14+ year career in banking and financial services, my audience decided before I had spoken a word that I was “one of them”.

Throughout the presentation, I was able to share real stories of overcoming tradition, change, and unexpected challenges to find success.  I connected with some of the very pain their organization is experiencing today, and left with them some very specific NEXT STEPS they could put into action by the end of that day to set them on a course to success!

Think back to a time when you were in an audience and felt as though YOU truly connected with a presenter. Or, more powerfully, think of a time when you presented to an audience/your team/organization with which you sensed a noticeable, positive, connected energy.  What was it that made it so magical?

When I teach on leadership, I often say the two most important ingredients for achieving success are DESIRE and KNOW-HOW.  Following the feedback of last week’s presentation, however, I believe there is one more: INSPIRATION.

EXERCISE: This week, write down the names of three people who inspire you.  Next, write down as many descriptive terms about those people, being specific to focus on their observable actions and behaviors you admire most. Finally, consider how you can begin to make changes to your own actions and behaviors others see when they observe you.

By taking on the above challenge, the leader within you will begin to emerge in an entirely new way.

Cooksey’s Challenge:  Reach out to the people you listed in the exercise above and share with them what you admire most.


Stop Getting Ready to Get Ready in 2010!


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!


Connecting in Riverside, CA


This past week, I continued to CONNECT with people, leading classes of a Job Skills Boot Camp in Riverside, CA.  We covered stress management tips, resume tricks, and interviewing techniques for interviewees to help them stand out in this employers market.

How ready are YOU for unexpected change in your own career?  Will you land on your feet?  Stay connected by signing up on our website!  (It’s that fancy box on the left….and, it’s FREE!)


Think Like A Firefighter


If you know very many people at all, you probably know a firefighter (or someone who knows one). These people provide an extremely important job to the communities they serve, often putting themselves in considerable danger to do so. Despite the facts and danger required by the job, firefighters really don’t earn that much money (on average), according to

Firefighters, however, are often very entrepreneurial people. That really isn’t much of surprise. Entrepreneurs are risk takers, creative problem solvers, and people who react well to rapidly changing environments. Where do you think the work-phrase “I’ve been putting out fires all day” comes from?

The next time you have occasion to visit with a firefighter, ask them, “So, what’s your OTHER job?” I’m willing to bet 90+% of the time, they will have one.

The firefighters I have known over the years don’t sit still very well. Their work schedule typically consists of a multiple, full (read: 24 hour) days in a row of being “on” followed by several days of being “off”. With three or four days at a time available to commit to another project, job, or task, why not take advantage of it?

One of my good friends was recently laid off from a six-figure job, and he’s been having a tough time finding a satisfying job to occupy his time and help take care of his family. Despite his many years of experience and impressive network of colleagues and friends, many of the people he knows “can’t really afford to pay him what he’s worth”.

I reminded him, “Yes. That’s true. IF they are hiring you for a 40+ hour per week spot.”

My friend paused, then said, “What do you mean?”

I suggested that he “think like a firefighter”, telling him, “If you’re worth $70,000 a year, but the employer can only pay you $30,000 per year, ask them if you can work for them on the three busiest days of the week and look for something else to do the other 4 days.”

Certainly, we all can’t work 7 days a week, every week, but the idea is the same. Today’s economy is challenging, but also loaded with opportunity in three easy steps:

  1. Embrace the idea of being a “Free Agent“,
  2. Open your eyes to the opportunities all around you, and




In my presentation “Embracing the Employeepreneur”, the message is about allowing your employees the opportunity to take some ownership. I’m a HUGE fan of Southwest Airlines, and this video is a great example of why. How do YOUR employees let your customers know how much they enjoy their jobs?


The Ultimate Video Resume


If you haven’t heard, Journey is back with a brand new lead singer. Sure, you die hard fans (Hi, Terry and Shanna!) find this news to be “old”….but for people thinking they could be at the bottom, here’s a great story of what happened to a kid living on the streets in the Philippines was able to achieve.

Congratulations, Arnel, on living your dream!