Anna Soo Wildermuth

Welcome to Personal Images, Inc.!

Here I'll give you up to date tips on developing your personal and professional image to ensure your first impression will be your best impression. Also I will blog about current image and communication blunders. Feel free to join the discussion by leaving comments, and stay updated by subscribing to the RSS feed. Thanks for visiting my blog. – Anna

Change One Thing is a superb book that gives excellent advice to help jumpstart your engine." Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Archive: Career Killers

Strengthen your Emotional Muscles

GiftSeth Godin also talked about ways we need to feed and stretch our emotional muscles mentioning that at least once a year he takes in a retreat and reads material to do just that.

I try at least twice a year to take a class or obtain another certification in a skill that will help me grow emotionally and observe life from another point of view. Last year, I became an international coach credentialed as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC).

This year, I made time in my very hectic schedule to attend a digital marketing conference on artificial intelligence and the ways it is revolutionizing the field. Strengthening your emotional muscles will also help renew and energize your passion.

Lessons from successful folks

targetA recent Chicago Tribune business section piece about critical lessons from successful entrepreneurs brought to mind how relevant the lessons also are for everyone working for an organization. These are the lessons:

• Persistence – Rejection is Normal – Lessons Learned – Recovery is Necessary – Never Give Up.
This reminds me of my first rejection. It took a year for the nightmares to stop but it still stands as a good lesson learned. Now when I get rejected on a project I do not take it personally but rather as a business situation.

• Think Long Term – What is your vision and what are you installing to keep it in the forefront? Add a new skill to keep it moving forward or review what is needed to ensure you are headed in the right direction.

• Take Risks with Growth in Mind – Take on a new project with a new dimension to expand your brand. Exposure is necessary for growth.

• Stay True to Your Core Brand – What is that you stand for? What are you doing to help it grow in a direction of expansion not dilution. Work on projects that not only enhance your core brand but bring a new critical element to it.

No glory in leadership – it can be lonely

A key laying on a piece of paper with the word "leadership" on it.

I remember once asking my coach why leaders seldom are one of the gang. Successful leaders make difficult decisions that are painful but necessary for the organization or project. After those decision, many times, those around us feel rejected.

Being the oldest of five in my family resulted in me making decisions not always welcomed when it came to my late parents or when I served as the president of an organization. What mattered to me at the time is the long-term benefit for everyone. Acting that way felt natural to me. Would I do things differently looking back? No, not really… because I still think I made good decisions.

Agree to disagree

coaching 2Today’s political environment is so charged that family members sometimes end up not talking to each other. Recently, I was riding in a car and the conversation turned challenging. I requested we not talk about politics unless we could agree to discuss by listening to each other’s point of view. We also agreed if we could not agree to disagree we should talk about other topics instead. If an agreement cannot be made to agree to disagree, then it is better not to discuss politics or any highly charged topic.

Being on time – a rare professional quality

alice-wonderland-rabbit-clockI often hear complaints about those who are never on time. They arrive late, run overtime in meetings causing extended sessions that nobody wants. Everyone is busy and it shows a lack of respect for those waiting. Here are some tips to stay on time:

• Plan to arrive 15 minutes early
• Plan a 60-minute meeting agenda for 50 minutes
• If you need more time as a presenter, ask for it in the beginning of the talk
• Always assume everyone’s schedules are busier than yours

Delivering difficult news

ElephangIn a recent brewing scandal involving a major sports organization, the president of the group made a statement about it. What impressed me about this is that the president refrained from the usual allegation denial. Instead, he expressed concern while stating the incident was under investigation and would be addressed after the findings were revealed.

It was genuinely felt that the organization would be honest with the findings. Delivering difficult news must be heartfelt and honest. This approach was much better than not speaking about the situation or worse, defending it before all the facts were in.

Asking questions

26447en_USI_QuestionMarkOften, questions are asked in an intrusive manner during troublesome situations. The tone of voice is as culpable as words in creating a polarized environment as are gotcha questions. We see this in television interviews.

Clients with impressive technical skills sometimes act like bulls wandering in a china shop when asking questions. The message to others when this occurs is: I don’t want to work with you.

Start with what they do well and then ask how we can make the situation better to secure a successful result. When they offer what does not work begin to ask the “Why” question which, when answered truthfully, usually brings out a viable solution.

Do shoes make the man?

nike-esquire-sneakers-whiteA recent Tribune article asked if a man can wear gym shoes with a suit. In celebrity magazines, we see actor’s wearing funky shoes with suits and tuxedos. If you are in the fashion or marketing industry or a billionaire why not? For everyone else, if you want to be taken seriously and not be the focus of conversations about your shoes, stick with traditional footwear. For pizazz, mix it up with a different color leather (not red!).

What do successful people do in difficult times?

jumping couple in field under cloudsThese are my key elements to help transition from difficult to better times:

• Learn from the situation, no matter how difficult
• Never dwell on the past
• Put a plan in place to move forward
• Take responsibility for the situation
• Get support from family and peers

The Bad Boss

noRecently, I read a Chicago Tribune Business Section article about what makes a boss bad. Here are some of key findings:

• They do not recognize your achievements.
• They verbally abuse you in public.
• They pit you against your peers.
• They offer no support or tools to help you achieve results.
• They have no interest in you as a person only as a tool to achieve their goals.

How do you survive with a bad boss (And, I had more than one before starting out on my own!) The best way is to treat their unfortunate appearance as a learning experience. Also, keep in mind that these bad bosses treat everyone the same way so it is not personal.

Working through bad boss experiences helped me work with clients to make them better leaders.