Life is a Banquet

Author Barbara Sher is known for coining the term "Scanner" to refer to people who wish to incorporate more than one interest in their careers or who wish to have multiple careers in a lifetime.

Through her books, including Refuse to Choose, Ms. Sher has helped to shift a paradigm for a number of people. The one which sticks out to me lately is the eating analogy.

When you wish to change careers,  says Ms. Sher, you are not necessarily a quitter. You are like someone at dinner. Changing careers is putting down your utensils and pushing back the plate; you have had your fill and you are ready for the next course. Others have their appetites and you have yours.

I would further add to the analogy that this dinner,  this career path that fits your appetite, does not always come with a waiter. Often your career path - especially the entrepreneurial career path- is like a buffet. When you're ready for the next thing, you'll have to put in more effort than just sitting there. You'll have to get up and get it yourself.

Going to the buffet is understandably frightening; many of us are not accustomed to that.   What if there is not enough there to sustain me and I starve? What if the buffet is overcrowded with other people? What if I can't even find the buffet table?

It's true. Career consultants and entrepreneurial success stories cannot guarantee your success (any more than an employer can guarantee you that he or she will still be in business next year). But they can understand your needs and point to an appropriate banquet; it's up to you to eat.

When to Stop Researching If You're On a Deadline

One useful thing to learn in research is when to stop.

In this era of unprecedented information access, where the acronym TMI (Too Much Information) is used to ask someone to stop sharing, it's great to know when to push away the plate of info and say, "Thank you; I've had enough."

Let's say you need to know about X topic by a certain deadline so that you can then create content or a product based on that research.  You've searched for answers high and low. When should you stop the search and start to create content or products?   

You stop the search when the deadline is reached or when the answers become repetitive, whichever comes first.

If you've noticed a pattern, you've certainly hit on the most popular thoughts on the topic. They might not be the best answers for you, but from the patterns you can at least learn the jargon of the topic for further research. Once you start seeing the same answers over and over, it's time to take action.

You Are Next

Despite the rise of self-employment success stories, like that of Penelope Trunk, Tim Ferriss, Valerie Young  Ramit Sethi and Seth Godin, people still believe such career moves are too risky.

Others will pick apart an entrepreneur's story and come away from it having determined the account is not useful for 99% of the rest of us.

Some responses to a successful entrepreneur story are these:

"I have a baby on the way; I can't just quit my job in order to scrape by on odd jobs while I travel the world."

" It doesn’t make enough; It isn’t respectable enough. These people should just grow up and get real jobs."

"Everyone says 8 out of 10 businesses fail. I'd rather be an employee; it seems safer."

What is the source of much of the negativity? Why is it that people cannot see their own entrepreneurial possibilities and instead make excuses? Lack of imagination and fear.  These are understandable.

We are so accustomed to step by step instructions for a career. We expect to have the cloth cut out for us. How do you become a lawyer? You graduate from high school and university, you take the LSAT, attend law school, pass the bar, and -Boom!- you're in business. That's what we expect. So when you want to become an entrepreneur (or even wish to go horizontally from being an employee in Industry 1 to being an employee in Industry 2) there are not always step-by-step, concrete instructions.

Then comes the fear.

When we read stories of successful entrepreneurs, we are still searching for blue prints instead of looking at these careers as what they are - general suggestions.

These successful people are living a custom-tailored life. Of course that career looks good on them. Of course that exact career might not fit the contours of your life.

Take these stories as examples of what's possible. Glean from them what is useful to you and set aside the rest. Pivot Point is here to help you not simply to recreate someone else's accomplishments, but to reduce your fear through knowledge of the entrepreneurial landscape and  help you create a custom-tailored life.

Facebook: How to Edit or Delete Your Comment (Computer or Mobile Device)

  To Edit or Delete Your Comment on Facebook from a Computer
1. Move the cursor to the upper right corner of your comment. A gray pencil will appear.

2. Click the pencil and the words  EDIT and DELETE will appear.

3. Choose your option.

4a. If you choose EDIT, when you are finished,  tap the ENTER button on your keyboard and you will be out of edit mode. You can cancel the edit by tapping the ESC button on your keyboard or clicking CANCEL  just under the comment box.
This is Facebook edit mode on a computer.
4b. If you choose DELETE, a confirmation box pops up asking, "Are you sure you want to delete this comment?" You may choose DELETE or CANCEL.

To Edit or Delete Your Comment on Facebook from a Mobile Device
Facebook automatically directs your phone or other mobile device to a more streamlined version of their website. The buttons are pretty much the same but are in different locations. Here is how to edit or delete a comment on Facebook using a mobile device.

1. Click MORE (It is below your comment next to the LIKE option). The words EDIT and DELETE will appear.

2. Choose your option.

3a. If you choose  EDIT, make the desired changes, then click UPDATE. You will then go out of edit mode. Before clicking update, you also have the option to CANCEL the edit or DELETE the comment.
This is Facebook edit mode on a mobile device.

3b. If you choose DELETE, a confirmation box pops up asking, "Are you sure you want to delete this comment?" You may choose to CANCEL the deletion or click OK to continue deleting the comment.

D. Thomas helps you navigate the internet one challenge at a time and is the author of  What's There is Cherce (An Incomplete Guide to Classic Movie Databases).

Write a Mission Statement for Your Life

You've heard about the mission statement  - those big ideas which shape your business, that overall scheme which directs your company. You should do the same for your life.
"When you write out a mission statement for your life, you measure all of your behavior by that statement to see what it is that distracts you and what it is that refreshes you." - Ravi Zacharias
 A project must be in keeping with your mission statement. If it is not, then it is a distraction, even if it is a good project.

Sit down with a piece of paper or other method of recording in writing and ask yourself " Who am I?" You are unique. Discover who you are and wrap your business in the essence of you. This will make even the more unpleasant parts of your work easier to bear and meaningful.

What is your life's mission statement?

How to Delegate Without Losing Control of Your Goals

An entrepreneur can be a great visionary who takes on far too many tasks to be effective. Today at Pivot Point, we look at three steps to help you release your tasks to others while still remaining in control of your goals.

Sometimes a dysfunctional team has disappointed an entrepreneur over and over, so he or she develops  an often subconscious habit of not trusting someone else with major responsibilities. This habit can hinder progress. Here is what you do instead.

1. Delegate the tasks

You tend to get everything done yourself; you're overwhelmed. If one person is doing everything,  a bottle neck happens. Have you ever tried getting ketchup out of one of those glass bottles with the narrow neck? Progression of the ketchup is slow. Give the team more responsibilities, that widens the bottle neck for more of the good stuff to flow through.

2. Discover the strengths of your team
It's not enough just to delegate responsibilities randomly; you must also know where best to put each team member. We are each skilled at many things, but in what are we most interested?

This is where hiring independent contractors (as opposed to employees) is a big plus. They have already held out their shingle as someone interested in X,Y and Z; their revenue is dependent on sustaining that interest. It might take a few tries to find someone who gels with your personality and vision, but keep trying.

3. Progress Reports.
Because responsibility has been spread out, the leader must keep everyone accountable. Meeting regularly is a necessity. Experiment with the frequency of accountability until you get the right blend. You might not need a conference call of all the people on your team, but be candid at the outset of the relationship with requests for regular updates, so that you both know what to expect.

This keeps you in control of your vision, while freeing your time for other aspects of your goals.

What will you do today to start delegating without losing control of your goals?