Taking a Loss

Yesterday, a divided nation decided that it would, in part, continue to go down a path that leads toward its demise. But, just because you’re going down the wrong path doesn’t mean you can’t pause, reflect, and commit to bettering yourself.

It’s time for us to demand more of our leaders. As I continue to prepare myself for elevated levels of leadership by taking on more roles and remaining a lifelong learner, I am adding more best practices to my arsenal. Today, as I was reading some of John Maxwell’s work, I was reminded that “(l)eaders lose the right to be selfish.”

We have to start holding our leaders, elected and otherwise, to a higher standard. Sometimes that means turning down campaign dollars from sources that lack integrity. Other times, it means foregoing a raise or rejecting a bonus so your support staff maintains its morale. Paying bills and engaging in self-care are not selfish. Shoot, even getting a bonus when everyone’s doing well is ok. But when, as a leader, you look out for yourself at the expense of those around you, you’re doing damage to the culture and community you’re suppose to be protecting.

Think of it like this: As a leader, if you do something selfish and stupid that jeopardizes your community’s reputation, you’re not only risking your job but also the jobs of everyone that supports you. Let’s look at all the companies that have gone down the drain because of poor leadership. The leaders were not the only ones affected. Their employees weren’t only affected. The employees’ families were affected. The generations that follow that employee are affected. Our decisions, as leaders, will have everlasting impacts on the world.

Yesterday’s election results, though some positive change took place, disappointed me on a large scale. The battle may be a wash but the war is far from over. Over the next two years (and long after that), let us, as follower-leaders, pledge to change the culture across political, economic, and social arenas. We have to get to a point where we can disagree without being mean-spirited and that starts with requiring our leaders to model that. We influence them by demanding more of them so that they can influence us. It’s a simple cycle.


Make selfless leadership a requirement.


#TrendingThursday 2.0 – Num. 12

Here are the ages you peak at everything throughout life by Chris Weller and Skye Gould
Now, as with everything, take this with a grain of salt. Some of the best people in certain fields have been late bloomers. But, at the same time, it adds a bit of perspective when you’re thinking about where you want to be in your life, personally and professionally.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Being a Good Bar Regular by Tracy Moore
I like a good drink, every now and then. And I, while I like having them at home because it’s cheaper, there are times when I just want to hang out at a bar. While I knew many of these basic rules, like leave a $1 tip for a beer and $2 for a cocktail, it’s always nice to hear a bartender’s perspective on how to be a good (and respectful) regular at your neighborhood bar. Oh, and though written for gentlemen, ladies you may want to read this, either for your own knowledge and to share with the men in your life.

3 Suit Rules That Seem Stupid But Matter
I don’t wear suits all the time anymore. Very few of my friends do. But it’s still important to know how to wear one when the time comes. Check out this article and figure out how you (or someone you know) can benefit from it.

To Be a Great Leader, You Have to Learn How to Delegate Well by Jesse Sostrin
I’ll be the first to say that I’m not the best at delegating (but I’m getting better, now that I’m in my second position with a dedicated person playing a support role). I like to do everything I can myself. That’s why this article was so important to me. I hope it can help you along the process of becoming stronger at delegating tasks.

Make professional development a priority.

Everyone Needs a Little Sophistiratchet

I’m Mr. Professional Development.  Mr. Suit and Tie.  Mr. Hard Leather Briefcase During My Junior Year of College.  And that is all well and good.  But, every now and then, we all need a bit of fun.  We all need to be able to relax and let loose.  Now, I’m not saying you have to go work at King of Diamonds or release Straight Outta Kannapolis with a parental advisory warning on it but I am saying that, in order to be a successful young professional, balance is key.  You have to have that friend that you can talk to about whatever and be completely goofy with.  That person who you think about calling just to tell a completely inappropriate story when you’ve had two shots too many.  You have to have those friends who you know you can still play streetball with.  These interactions and moments are reminders of why we do what we do every day (especially for those of us who don’t have a bigger why like kids).

Maroon 5 said it best: “It’s not always rainbows and butterflies.  It’s compromise that moves us along.”  Don’t compromise your morals, values, or your brand.  But recognize that you’re multidimensional and accept all of those dimensions.  So know that you’re not always going to feel like putting on a full suit but, if you’re paid to, you probably will.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  But there’s also nothing wrong with putting on a pair of jeans, some Timbs, and a fitted when the environment calls for it.  Monday through Friday, 8 – 5, you all know I’m at my desk, working.  Shoot, I’m probably there until 8 if I’m working on my business as well.  But sometimes, you have to loosen your tie up or let your hair down and enjoy the moment you’re in.  We’re only this age once.  Tomorrow you will be older.  And, the older you get, the more responsibilities pile on or the more unexpected surprises come along.  So toss a bit of sophistiratchet into your evening.  Turn the Beethoven off and put some old Dipset on.  Skip the six-course meal at Ruth Chris and go grab a burger at Cookout.  Take care of yourself but have a moderate amount of fun.  Otherwise, you’ll look back at your life when you’re 82 and wonder “What was I thinking?”

Above all else, love and make memories.  And don’t get arrested.  That is not smart.
Make professional development (and enjoying life) priorities.

“On the Rocks.”

On the 3rd, I turned 28.  On the 4th, I celebrated with a few friends.  We went to a local brewery and had a few drinks.  One of my fraternity brothers bought me a bottle of Kentucky bourbon that had been aged for 10 years.  And, last night, as I opened it for the first time, pouring the room temperature whiskey over two granite rocks that reside in the door of my freezer, I realized that most of my readers only come here for the workplace side of being a young professional.  But there is a lifestyle side which is equally, if not more, important.  So, today, I introduce to you all whiskey stones, a refined way of keeping your drinks cool.

Generally, when people say they would like their drinks “on the rocks,” they mean cubes of ice.  The problem with ice on a drink like whiskey, which is meant to be sipped as opposed to shot, is that it waters the liquor down.  However, these granite stones keep your drink chilled while maintaining its potency.  Plus they add a cool look to the drink and they are a great conversation starter.

So, when next time you are at your local Target, grab a box of whiskey stones.  A set of 6 is only $9.  Pretty reasonable price if you ask me.  And your boss will appreciate it when (s)he comes to visit and doesn’t have to drink a watered down glass of scotch.


Make professional development a priority.

Business Travel For Beginners

Guess who I’m writing this article for?  Myself and those young professionals like me who are starting to move up in their careers and now must travel for work.  Over the current fiscal year, I will take 20 business-related trips so I’m about to make up some rules that, to me, seem like common sense but may not be to everyone.

  1. You’re still on the clock.  Act like it.  You are not on vacation so don’t plan to do too much sightseeing.  If you do want to see some sights and the conference is on a Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday, try getting there on Sunday or leave on Saturday, respectively.
  2. PlanningAt a conference, there may be a happy hour portion after the business sessions.  If you drink, it’s okay to be social.  Networking, when done appropriately, is a part of work and can strengthen your relationships.  But that is not the time to get drunk.  It reflects poorly on your company/organization and could get you fired if it gets back to HR (which many things have a way of doing).
  3. If traveling with others from your company/organization, be friendly.  Let’s be honest, coworkers can be like family: You can’t always choose them, but you really can’t get rid of them.  So why not make the best of the situation?  Don’t sit at the airport on a bench across from your colleague and act like a complete stranger.  Strike up a conversation.  You never know, maybe that trip could be just the bonding experience you two needed to develop a friendship.
  4. Don’t break your regular routine if you can help it.  If you workout in the morning, workout at the hotel gym.  If you eat breakfast, make sure you put something on your stomach before the first session.  Try to keep your bedtime consistent.  I say that to say this: You have to go back home after a couple days and you don’t want to be straggling in the office.
  5. (Maybe this should have been number one because it precedes any travel) Get ahead on your work.  There is nothing worse than going out of town (whether for business or pleasure) and having to deal with stuff back in the office.  So give yourself some breathing room.  When you know you’ll be gone for a couple of days, get far enough ahead on your work that coming back won’t feel like you’ve missed an entire week.
  6. See what else you can get done on the trip that will help your company.  For instance, I currently work in the development and alumni relations department for a university so, when I’m up in Chicago, I will be seeing if I can make a couple appointments with alumni either day before or the day after the conference.  Even if it’s just to say hey and update them on what’s going on at the school over a cup of coffee, it will help me build relationships that the university needs.
  7. If you’re driving, drive safely.  Everyone is not the best driver.  That is understood.  But when you’re driving for work, follow the rules of the road and realize that, once again, you are a representation of your company/organization.  Even if you’re the only one in the car, safety should be first.  So leave the 90 mph mindset at home and play it safe.
  8. Have fun.  Even though you’re there for work, you’re in a city that isn’t home.  So check the conference agenda and try to plan a couple things outside of the business sessions either after or during a lunch break if your hotel is in a central location.

I always wanted a job where I could travel for free and now I have it.  But I want to make sure to keep the job so I’m going to try to follow these rules.  Maybe you should too.  Feel free to leave any additional ones you think of in the comments.

Make professional development a priority.

Social Media in 2013: User Demographics For Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest And Instagram

by Leo Widrich

Out of all internet users 67% are using social networks. And which kind of demographic uses which social network has been forever interesting for marketers. Some of the latest insights from Pew Research centers reveals the latest stats.

Twitter is still used more than Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Also, African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to use Twitter than Whites, according to the study.

Most of the findings are in line with what you might expect and some are truly surprising. For example, people living in cities spend the most time on Social Media, at 70% of the population. And women, on average, spend 9% more time on social networking sites than men.
Let’s dive into a further breakdown of the stats:

So, who is the average Facebook user? According to the research, it’s a young, 25 year-old woman, living in a big city, with a college degree and a household income of more than $75k a year.

Interestingly, here at Buffer, we’ve just completed a similar research to find out more about demographics of our users. Who is your average Buffer user? Here are two key ones we found

1.) Young male (we called him Guru Gordon) in his late 20s, early 30s). He has a college degree and reads a lot of business and political publications. You’d probably call him a “gadget freak,” and he’s a self-proclaimed “life hacker” who loves finding ways to be successful and get the most out of life. He’s in his late 20s, early 30s.

2.) Community Cathy: Cathy uses social media to spread information about a cause and interact with other people in the community that share an interest in that cause. She reads Mashable and the Huffington Post and has way too many clothes in her closet. She’s probably in her twenties, but she may be in her early thirties.
So what about other details, age groups, demographics and more? Here are all the details on it:


Source: Buffer Blog