Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

Cleared Hot and Engaged: Lessons From a Flygirl

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Vernice Flygirl Armour PRSA 2013 BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasWhen Vernice “Flygirl” Armour asked for permission to shoot her weapons in the middle of combat, she was waiting to hear the words “Cleared Hot.” And as the first female African American Marine Corps combat pilot, Armour has conquered her share of challenges and obstacles, and she herself is definitely cleared hot. On day two of the PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia, she shared a bit of her energy and motivational insights in her keynote speech, “Zero to Breakthrough: How a Breakthrough Mentality Creates Breakthrough Results!”

I attended Armour’s speech, in which she acknowledged that as a minority, as a female, and as a female in the Marines, she’s overcome a number of obstacles herself, but that we all have obstacles in our work and personal lives. “The key is to acknowledge the obstacles,” she advised. “Don’t give them power.”

The content of Armour’s speech wasn’t revelatory; instead, it laid bare the obstacles we put in front of ourselves. It might be we want to quit or disengage when we get frustrated, but throughout her speech, Armour reminded us that we have permission to engage – with our colleagues, with our clients, but most importantly, with ourselves. “At what point do you give yourself permission to engage?” she asked. “And if you don’t, who will?” Only we can tell ourselves we are cleared hot.

Engaging with ourselves and our community is basic to the PR profession, but it’s easy to get trapped in the small tasks of keeping our heads above water day to day. “What’s the bold breakthrough move you need to take to put yourself back on course to break out of the mediocre and mundane?” she asked us to ask ourselves.

As a newcomer to the PR industry (I was a journalist in Beijing until August), Armour’s speech was timely in its motivation factor – time to determine how I define success in my position and life – but unfortunately vague in ways to get started. But that’s perhaps the most positive thing about Armour’s speech: she’s not telling anyone how to define success or get on their path; that’s not her MO. I think this independent, inward approach will be a beneficial aspect of personal success and my impact at Burrellesuce.

It was refreshing to hear Armour ask us to turn inward to help ourselves get ahead personally and professionally. When it comes to work, it’s mostly about what we can do for our organization, not for ourselves. But the way we engage with ourselves and how we choose to meet our challenges can immediately affect our professional success, and thereby have a positive effect on our organization. My colleague recently competed in a Tough Mudder challenge, and in challenging herself personally, she gained a lot of insights applicable to her professional life. As Armour puts it, “We’re asking folks to engage when we’re not willing to engage most of the time.” We must engage ourselves to begin engaging with others.

Armour doesn’t have answers for how to engage, but again, it’s not something she can dictate. All she can do is share her experiences, lend some motivation, and remind us that “Positive thought creates positive action” and “A breakthrough mentality creates the reality.”

PRSA Counselors Academy 2010: Alan Cohen, Acts of Balance Coaching, Interviewed By Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Join BurrellesLuce and Alan Cohen, president, Acts of Balance, leadership coach and trainer for this informative 60-minute webcast, “The 12 Essential Talents of Marketing Communications Leadership…and other Lessons Learned From Harry Potter.” Alan will discuss the 12 essential talents of marketing communications leadership. He will use examples from the Harry Potter books and his own personal experience managing the project as former director of marketing for Scholastic Publishing where he was on the team that launched the Harry Potter books a decade ago.

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the PRSA Counselors Academy with Alan.

Alan, will you please introduce yourself?

ALAN COHEN: Sure. I’m Alan Cohen, and I’m an executive coach. My company is called Acts of Balance Coaching, and I work with PR professionals in leadership and motivation.

BURKE: Great. Now, Alan, you’re doing a presentation and some roundtables on attitude adjustment; do you need an attitude adjustment? What are two signs that somebody does, and what can they do about it?

COHEN: OK, great. So what I’m talking about mainly is what your default tendencies are when you’re dealing in situations that are challenging: if you respond like a victim, if you respond with a lot of conflict, if you tend to be more cool-headed and logical. And really, the first step is to just become conscious of where you default. And you can see that in terms of the language that you use, in terms of the kinds of situations that you seem to be attracting. What you can do about it is, well, certainly you can work with a coach. But the first–the first step is to have an awareness that there are actually lots of different ways to perceive situations, and you perceive situations based on past experience. So this is very, very important for anyone who’s in a leadership role because it impacts the way that you can inspire and motivate others by really managing your own emotions and becoming conscious of where your energetic default tendencies are.

BURKE: Great. Alan, thanks so much. And where can people find you on the web or social media?

COHEN: Sure., or you can follow me at Acts of Balance or my fan page is Acts of Balance. Acts of Balance.

BURKE: Great. Thanks so much.

COHEN: Thank you. 

PRSA Counselors Academy 2010: Ken Jacobs, Jacobs Communications, Interviewed By Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m at the PRSA Counselors Academy with Ken.

Ken, will you please introduce yourself?

KEN JACOBS: Sure. I’m Ken Jacobs of Jacobs Communications Consulting, and I help public relations agencies in three ways: number one, to grow and manage their business; number two, improve client relationships and client service; and number three, to enhance staff performance and motivation, primarily through training.

BURKE: Great. Ken, you’re doing a session on working with millennials. Can you please share with the people that aren’t able to make it on some of the tips about effectively working with millennials in the workplace?

JACOBS: Sure. Well, the number one tip is to stop complaining about them, particularly if you’re a baby boomer like myself or if you’re in Gen X, but to appreciate the fact they are the largest and fastest growing part of our work force. They’re 37 percent of them today; by the year 2014 they’ll be 47 percent. SO we have no choice but to learn how to manage and motivate them. And I think the most important thing is to understand the different cultural issues that have affected this generation. Understand their values, understand what makes them tick, understand how they’re different from both the baby boomers and the gen Xers and learn to appreciate them. And once you gain some insight into how they think and how they work, they can be very, very productive and really contribute to your team.

BURKE: I think those are great points and reminders for all of us that work with them, to really find a way to bring out the value that they bring to the organization. Tell me again how people can find you on the web and in social media.

JACOBS: Sure. They can find me at, that’s J-A-C-O-B-S-C-O-double M-dot-com. They can also find me on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter.

BURKE: Ken, thank you so much.

JACOBS: Thank you.