Category Archives for "Featured"

Stay on Your Path: Own Your Narrative

How do you talk about who you are? What words do you choose to describe yourself? Your narrative tells others about you. Often, our answer depends on our primary purpose in any given situation. According to Muse, it’s the number one most popular interview question. 

The same holds true in social situations. We often answer with what we think the other person wants to hear and will get what we desire That sounds simple enough, but it is certainly not easy to be concise, relevant, and genuine. 

Staying on your path is about telling yourself who you are and then carefully choosing your words to tell others. It follows suit that once you study, or just raise your awareness about where your money goes and how your time is spent, you will want to be more purposeful in talking about who you are.  

If watching your time and money revolve around taking notice, the third piece of the puzzle assists in making conscious choices. These are not I should or when I statements.  This is a clear declaration of oneself. This statement is the direct result of knowing who you are. 

Words to Use

How do words impact our reality is covered in this article on Psych Central. The authors give several explanations for why using the right words can transform our reality. Their conclusion:  Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can change your brain.

Your narrative is your story. It is more than your “headline.” It drills down into your why. Watch Simeon Sineck’s Ted talk for that, if you have not. For example, My headline is Wayfinder. My narrative, about my career is:

My work was about implementing new programs and ideas. I was a change agent, first as an advocate then as a manager. I like showing others the way. Now I write and talk about leadership; helping others to succeed.

Honoring Your Choices

When you take the first two steps on the path and view your values with hard evidence of what you spend both your money and time on, you are now in a position to step up to the plate and put that into alignment with your narrative. Making conscious choices about how you tell your story is coming into agreement with your values. Showing the true you, uncovered from the clues that have been hiding in your finances and schedule. Coming into alignment, makes everything easier. It’s living your values.

Planning or Doing

Are you still talking about your life in the future tense? Are you using statements akin to Someday I will start a company; Tomorrow I will have time to really focus on that team member or a specific problem. For example, you may be always planning but never doing.   

Doing is saying something like:  I write and speak because I want to connect to people, I want to show my vulnerability and I want to show my strength that has helped me because I think it might inspire others.  Do you actually put your money where your mouth is and do those things you always say you will do such as: write a book; climb a mountain; visit China; make time to catch up with a colleague?

These statements don’t have to be about big goals or dreams. It is about closing the disconnect between who you think you are and what you actually do. This is the point when you can honestly see yourself. It’s about how you are spending your money and time in service of meeting your own goals. 

For years and years, I should-ed myself about being a writer. Then, when I actually looked at my spending and where I went, and what I did each day, I knew actually what was going on. I was talking about wanting to be a writer more than I was writing. 

Two years ago, seeing my own disconnect I stopped planning and started doing. At first, I started writing for just 10 minutes a day. That was all I could do. But, I started on the path. It’s like a muscle that needs to be flexed and trained. Now I have a consistent writing practice, including mentors, classes and colleagues. This has yielded a consistent blog posting every other week, several finished fiction and creative non-fiction pieces and a collection of short stories in progress.  

Coming into Alignment

This is the penultimate mountain to climb to unite the path. Bring your time, money, and who you say you are into alignment for smoother sailing down the river of life.  

Meanwhile, I understand that it is a lot more comfortable sitting at home on the couch and talking about what you plan to do instead of doing it. There is great self-esteem boosting in choosing to take on your own challenges. To actually become and do who you really are.  

Another Personal Example:

When I took notice of my patterns. I could see that I was in alignment with my time and money. What was not in alignment was my narrative. I would say:  I’m the mom who can’t lose 10 pounds, dated the wrong partners, and was always working. Those things are true but they are not the only truth. I was a single mother, I had a good job, I was active in my community, I made time to go to the park every day, I made time to read to my kid every day, that’s who I was. But what I said about myself was all negative. It is about showing a balanced view and appreciating the things you do that are working.   

What’s Next

Be authentic and keep yourself on track by thinking about what I spend my money on, what I spend my time on and what I say about it.

For me, I am Ilene Marcus, I spend my time helping people make simple changes to improve their lives. I spend my discretionary money on writing classes, charitable causes, my puppy, and my car (I drive a lot). What I say about myself:

Every day I work on being a better writer, on being a little kinder, a little smarter, and a lot more loving. And I will do that for the rest of my life.

Stay On Your Path: About Time

Humans by nature are seekers.  We want more.  To be recognized and rewarded.  We want to feel valued.  Mostly, we want to be at peace inside.   As I “enter”  full retirement mode I’ve asked others to reflect on what I did well when I managed.  The feedback was overwhelmingly consistent!   

You taught me that who I am is what I do everyday.   It’s not the big wins and moments, it’s all the tiny everyday actions that build up to the milestones. 

I do believe this is true.  I strive to do what matters to me every day.  How can I tell if I am making progress?  I ask myself three questions:

How do I spend my time?

Alignment between who I want to be and what I do is critical to building my self-esteem and my happiness.  We all know the difference between a day when nothing special happens and yet I sail through; vs. a day when nothing special happens and I get side-tracked and annoyed. 

Do I spend my day thinking about making that call I don’t want to make?  Or do I take a deep breath, be brave and dial the phone?  Honesty is key here.  When corporations are out of alignment. it shows in morale, production and profits.  If you say you invest in employees, well then it should show in how the management team and staff spend their days.  Does the staff feel invested in?  Are they able to see your efforts in action?  Do you believe it in and work to build your culture?  Do you spend your time on what you say you spend your time on?

Make it Personal.

It’s the same thing in your personal life.  I want to be a writer.  Do I think and think and plan what to write? Am I stuck in the getting ready to get ready phase?  Organizing my files, picking out the best pens?  Looking for classes or groups to be part of?  How often do I actually sit and write?  Is writing part of my ritual, my schedule?  For example, have I set up each day so there is no reason not to write?  Now, I write everyday.   And that has made all the difference.

What does that say about me?

It says I know who I am; I am not scared to put my priorities first.   I know I can meet my commitments. Can I also enjoy my time?  Time is the most precious possession of which you can never make more.  Am I waiting for it to happen or do I make it happen?  When I do what I say I will do, it says I am trustworthy and honorable.  I act on what I plan to do.  

For years it was about my career.  Working hard was in alignment with my goals. My choice was to spend a majority of my time on the job. As a result the question was, what type of work did I want to do?   The question was how did I want to spend that time?  Even though I was good at putting out fires, that didn’t make me happy.  My interest was in developing new programs and growing revenue.  I took action to organize my time, staff and priorities to get that done.  It wasn’t always easy but it was what I wanted. Efficiency hacks work to make more time in your day.  Read about some here

That says a lot about what I do every day and how I wanted to influence the organizations I worked for.  When I spend my day not doing what I want and yielding to others, it builds resentments.  Who can be their best self under those circumstances?

Are my beliefs “mostly” in alignment with my actions?

Look at what you do during the day from the outside.  Not as yourself but as someone watching you.  Be specific about:

  • How you spend your time; vs.
  • What you tell yourself; vs.
  • What you tell others; vs.
  • What you really want to be doing. 

There is a lot to pay attention to, but this is the essence of the disconnect.  These questions, faced with true honesty will shed light on all the places there are crossed lines in your thinking, that lead to disconnects in your actions.  It is these disconnections, the things we hope will change, we want to change, and we settle for, that teach us the most about how we are not showing up for ourselves.   

What’s Next:

Easy does it to get your thinking and actions into alignment.  A slight course correction overtime will change your direction.  Head towards the life you want to live.  Spend your time on what you must, your commitments and make sure you find the joy even in the things you must do.  In short, then make sure you spend a portion of your waking time doing what you set out to do.  What is true to who you want to be.  Enjoy the hell out of it!


Quiz: How My Personality Annoys Co-Workers!

Please share the quiz with this link:  How My Personality Annoys My Co-Workers!

Information is power.  Get “intel” about how others perceive you.  If you are saying, it’s not me, it’s them.  Are you so sure?  The truth is, its probably both of you.   I’ve learned it’s often not what I think how I am annoying others that gets them.  It’s something entirely different.

3 Reasons to take the Quiz:

1- It’s Fun and takes 3.6 minutes.

2- If you are honest, it’s honestly going to tell you something.

3- Includes spot-on SHORT, easy advice to make  your co-worker relationships drama free.


How Do You Measure Up?

The verdict is in. I have heard from many of you that the annoying personality type is on target. Some of you didn’t like what it said – including me i am a Kardasian. Truth is when we discuss it it is about the way you show you up. I have to own up to the fact of who I am and how I show up. Its just information that can help you be even better at what you do. However – the problem is you don’t know how you stack up. Here are the  6 personality types.

Find your How I Annoy My Co-Workers Personality:

Emma Stone:  The sweetest actress ever, barely ever annoying

Mary Poppins: So perfect, it’s annoying.  Are you even real?

Painfully Irresistible:  Just like Liam Payne from One Direction, a little pain, a little gain

Next Popping: That’s irritating and everyone can see it!  The picture is me at a photo-shoot saying “take the pic already”

Like A Kardasian:   You are so on top of whats new its both annoying and yet jealous making

Steaming Hot:   It’s Coming out of both your ears and everyone knows it.  Stand back…


New Questions will appear as you go through the quiz.  Check the status bar at the bottom to see your progress!

Featured in The Single Most Important Advice for Your Career

Good career advice and career guidance are like a good hairstyle.  You want to know where to get it and how to keep it.   The single most important career advice, after being competent which is a baseline “give-me”  is don’t annoy your boss.  If you learn the common mistakes most workers make, you can fix them and move up the corporate ladder.  If you annoy your boss It all boils down to one solution.   Honesty.  It’s that simple,  You can embellish, subtract and tone-it-down, albeit it all comes down to this.   A good boss can smell the BS cubicles away.  Fool them once, and there will not be a second time.   Honesty about your abilities, efforts, and work status is key to building your reputation and a good relationship with your  boss.  

Follow the logical career advice of why honesty is truly the best policy.  Or, if you must, follow the yellow brick road but, it’s the long way around.  Learn this simple career advice and be honest with your boss:

Your Boss will win the race

The Boss will figure it out, before you do.  Usually the boss has smarts even if you don’t see it.  This means unless you get a crash course on whatever it is you are lacking, a good boss will figure out that you don’t know before you figure out how to know it. 

Ask your Boss for face-time and career guidance. 

If your Boss is fair and not a jerk, he or she will value the opportunity to show you their way, teach a new skill and mentor you.  A good boss intuitively understands that employees value face time with them.   Therefore, they want you to learn from them.  They may not know you need the help.    Ask for what you need.

Learn to ask without being needy

This is a hard one for most.   Keep your voice, your mannerisms and your tone calm, cool and collected.  Don’t give long explanations.   Just ask for what you need.  For example:  “Can you show me how you would like the pivot table?”   If you ask, your boss will make the time to show you what you need or find someone else to help you.  

See the big picture.   

The boss has to see the forest and all the trees in that forest to keep the forest growing.  Know the type of tree you are and where you fit into that forest.  Make sure you keep your tree strong.  If you don’t get this advice, email me.   You need my help…..

This article in covers the 8 Worst MIstakes That Annoy your Boss More than Being Late.  It’s a quick read and worth it. 

Follow Tip #7 from yours truly:   You say you understand – when you really don’t!    It all boils down to simple honesty.  What do you think?  

Empowering the Quiet Team Leader from the Back of the Room

Quiet Team Leader.  Definitely a high point to be featured by Dan McCarthy on his Great Leadership Bog.  This post was inspired by a woman who was on my team for five years.   Rose is the quintessential quiet leader, who sets the tone, raises the bar and urges others to be better and do better.  She models, caring authentic behavior in every situation.   Those were five high growth years!

Read my guest blog on Great Leadership by clicking here.  Do you have a Rose on your team?  Tell me about the qualities you admire in this person.


Startup Professionals: 7 Proven Tactics In Managing Annoying Team Members. Go Slow to Go Fast.

Honored to be featured by Marty Zwilling on Startup Professionals, for Entrepreneurs Who are in a Hurry to Succeed.  Go slow to go fast is sound advice. I am kindred spirit when it comes to start-ups.  Having been a DoubleClicker and spent most of my career as a rain maker, I was always in startup mode.  My DNA is hardwired to build a strong foundation for a scalable enterprise in a very short time with strict budget parameters.  My personal mantra is taken from  Cosimo di Giovanni de’ Medici  (take the secret passage tour in Florence) known for unifying Italy.  Cosimo’s words: “Go slow to go fast”.  That means getting it right the first time.  

Marty’s credentials:  CEO & Founder of Startup Professionals, Inc.; Advisory Board Member for multiple startups; ATI Angels Selection Committee; Venture Mentor at ASU. Published on Inc., Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post. Feel free to follow Marty on Twitter StartupPro or Circle me on Google+.

In Marty’s own words:

We have all had to work with annoying team members in business. If you are not their manager, it’s tempting to just walk away, tune them out, or react sharply, but these reactions are not appropriate for managers, and are equally ineffective for peers and team mates. Remember that annoying doesn’t mean non-productive – these may be top performers, with critical business skills.

The good news is that you can learn to deal with well-meaning peers and people you manage, by employing a set of proven tactics, as outlined in a new book, “Managing Annoying People,” from veteran business leader and workplace consultant Ilene Marcus. As a long-time business adviser, I fully support her key pragmatic relationship strategies, which I paraphrase here as follows:

 Click here to read Marty’s entire article: 7 Proven Tactics In Managing Annoying Team Members.

Based on Marty’s comments, can you share your start-up challenges that you can’t afford to get wrong?

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