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Career Book Review – Have You Punched in Yet?


Looking to get a job and eventually move up in the world? Do you need to get experience or perhaps, just get a job even if it is a step down for you; under-employment? If so, wow, there is a great book I read mostly for fun, but as I read I felt I was there, and got a much better understanding of what the front-line employees in the US go through. The book I’d like to recommend to you is:

“Punching In – The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front Line Employee,” by Alex Frankel, Collins Publishers, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY (2007), pp 223, ISBN: 978-0-06-084966-5.

An interesting article to read which immediately made my memory recall upon reading this book was one I read in Quality Progress, an industry trade journal in November of 2007, beginning on page 55 titled; “Turning the Tables: Six Questions to Ask Your Interviewer,” writer by Joe Conklin. In that article he suggests how to turn difficult questions during the hiring procedure into conversations which uplift your intellectual status, thus your value, while allowing you gain pre-employment intelligence.

The author of this book writes in a similar genre as the author of “Nickled and Dimed” but at a higher level of employment, namely rather than working at places like a 24hr. Waffle House, Walmart, or Gas Station mini-mart – the author of “Punching In” worked for UPS, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and sold iPods at the Apple Store, and also entered the well-known manager program for Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

Have you ever wondered the secret of how corporations turn their workforces into brand loyalists, and absolutely an army of productivity? Well, read this book, and learn about how to win in your career for both the company, the team, and yourself. This book is written extremely well, and the writer is pretty funny, and shows off his writing style with great stories. He also writes for Wired Magazine, so perhaps you’ve seen his pieces there.

Seriously, you have to read this book, it will totally enlighten you, and give you a better understanding of what it’s like to work in a big corporation on the front-lines, companies with 1,000s of outlets and a specific way of doing things. As you read you will laugh, frown, and be disturbed, but you will definitely learns something, many things you probably didn’t know and it will give you a much better understanding of the reality of jobs in America, especially at the retail level, you will be amazed.


Thinking Outside The Box


Everyday I go out for a mini retreat to get inspiration and ideas for my business projects. Before I get into my project, I usually pick up a magazine and look at beautiful jewelry or home décor to inspire my senses with beauty. Beauty helps me tap into my creativity. Similarly, one can get inspiration from nature and the beauty that is all around us: flowers, greenery and waterfalls. Last week, during my retreat at the library I picked up the current issue of Femina magazine and I loved the message of the editorial:

Editor Tanya Chautaya’s message, Don’t know about you, I am done with logic, made me stop to read the editorial before going any further. She gave several examples of people who had created projects in unconventional ways and who took chances that critics would have said wouldn’t work. But work they did. These people thought outside the box and defied logic.

That’s exactly what happens when clients work with me to find ways to share the message about their passionate projects. We don’t look at the how everyone else has done it; we look at how they will do it and what is unique about their way.

Remember, if we want to share our passionate message with the world, we need to express ourselves in our own way. We need to defy logic and get in touch with our creative, intuitive message. We can create effortlessly, like the sun shines effortlessly every day. When we are in sync with the ultimate creator and co-create from our spirit source, we get to express our magic. Being a woman means having an abundance of intuitive energy, all we need to do is tap into it.

In continuing her discussion in Femina, Tanya Chautaya added that the key to defying logic is to learn from children. Children let logic find its way in the choices that they make. She says for example, looking at the current issue of Femina, logic would say go to the focus article mentioned on the cover; but most of us instead rush to the fashion feature on pants. When I work with clients, I have them determine what their fashion feature would be, determine their strengths, identify their childlike voice – the one that is different from the voices of others. From there we design marketing activities around their own voice.

I love how she concludes her exploration of logic by asking, What if you were never to grow up? I help my client find ways to express the fun and creative side of business so that they never have to grow up. I encourage them to own their brilliant childlike voice and create a business that allows them do what they are naturally good at and what brings them joy. Marketing becomes fun and exciting. How freeing not to follow the traditional marketing model, but to create your own model instead!

I have clients who are thinking outside the box and creating careers that allow them to express their passions. One is making a movie about forgiveness by being in touch with her passionate message. Another is the owner of a magazine that educates people about the diversity of cultures in America. She is able to do that because she got in touch with her own pain and passion and fully understands why it means so much to her to educate people. She wants to eliminate myths and stereotypes that are perpetuated about people living in America. Once we connect with the depth of our purpose and find creative ways to express and market our talents, we contribute to the planet in a much larger way.

Copyright (c) 2011 Zahra Efan


Freelance Journalism – How to Pitch Ideas to Newspaper Editors


Freelance journalism is not only a way to open a door to a full time reporting job; many prefer the freedom that freedom that freelancing allows and also the fact that they can start without a college degree. Here’s the best way I know of to get assignments at newspapers.

First find out if the newspaper uses freelancers. The Writer’s Market online version currently lists about 360 newspapers, including specialty ones like the American Jewish World and legacy newspapers like the New York Times.

If you are browsing through newspapers in your library, you can determine if they use freelancers by looking for byline tags such as “for the Ashland Tidings,” “special to,” “special writer,” “correspondent,” etc. instead of tags like “of the Ashland Tidings,” “staff writer,” etc.

In preparing to pitch an idea to a newspaper editor, get a good sense of its style by reading it from front to back page, paying extra attention to the places they use freelancers. Many papers are online now, and if it’s a good prospect it may be worth paying for an online subscription.

When creating ideas to pitch, check back issues if possible to see if your stories have been covered in the past year and a half. If a topic in general was covered but you have a fresh angle pitch it, note your angle. Newspaper editors love hearing new ideas – if they’re in tune with their paper/readership.

If you have clips (published articles), select your best (no more than five). Find out if the editor prefers these mailed, emailed or uploaded to your website. If you are new to freelance journalism and don’t yet have any clips, consider these alternatives…

  • Volunteer to write for a community publication or website. Write your articles as a journalist would. Avoid public relations writing when building clips for a newspaper.
  • Publish at an online site like Helium.
  • Create a blog that shows your journalism skills.

In your pitch, show the editor you take journalism and your profession seriously and that you are in tune with your community. Be familiar with journalism ethics. If there is any potential conflict of interest between your current job or other freelance work and work you may do for the newspaper, tell them up front.

Also considering the migration of newspapers to online news, mention any digital skills you have, such as shooting and editing video, engaging readers online through a community you have created (blog, social media page, etc.), online writing skills, etc.

When you pitch a newspaper, aim for an editor somewhere between the editor-in-chief and a junior editor. A features, lifestyle or city desk editor are usually good choices.

While magazine and book editors should never be cold called, a news editor is more likely to see this as a sign that you aren’t afraid to pick up the phone (a requirement in reporting). One of the career advisers at Poynter suggests doing so.

Place your call after, not before, deadline. For a morning daily, deadline would be the previous evening. For an afternoon daily, deadline would be that morning. Weekly papers’ deadlines are generally the day before the paper is published.

One way to write an email pitch is to do a shortened version of a magazine query, noting that you have more ideas as well and then list them with a couple sentences detailing each one.

Or instead of leading with a pitch for one idea, introduce yourself and pitch each idea separately. Conclude with a request to discuss further. If you have references, list them. Newspaper editors don’t have time to fiddle with “references on request.”

Go over your email with a fine tooth comb. An editor expects you will be putting your best foot forward in this competitive field. All it takes is one typo or factual inaccuracy to get the “delete” button clicked.

When you land an assignment, treat it like the gold that is. This could open the door for future freelance journalism assignments, and it could provide an important clip.

Be sure you understand the editor’s requirements. If you’re not clear, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. They would expect you to do the same with a source.

Finally, deliver exactly what is asked for, and you’re well on your way to a journalism career!


Three Myths About The Translation Business


There are countless languages in the world, most of which have many thousands and some even billions of monolingual or bilingual speakers. The laws of statistics would seem to dictate, therefore, that any attempt to set up a translation business is futile, if only because the number of potential competitors is overwhelming. However, once you have begun your translation business you will realise that serious competition – i.e., from rivals with business acumen and the nerve to question translation myths – is in fact comparatively scarce.

Native speakers are generally held to be indisputable authorities on translation issues. This leads us to the first myth about the translation business: the native speaker is infallible. When you start up your own translation business you will soon discover that most customers, especially the more knowledgeable ones, will demand that the translation be done by a native speaker, on the assumption that a native speaker is automatically a good writer. Not so. While there may be over a billion native speakers of English worldwide, only a fraction of them can be relied upon to possess the judgement it takes to decide whether a translation is linguistically sound in a given business context. We should not automatically assume that a native speaker is a good writer in his own language, and even less that he is a good translator. For one thing, translation requires thorough insight into the source language as well as the target language. When you hire translators for your business, you should never forget that while a good translator is usually a native speaker of the target language, not all native speakers are good translators.

The second myth about the translation business has to do with client priorities, and the assumption that more than anything else, clients want quality. People can be excused for taking this myth seriously. Anyone in his right mind would expect that the client’s main concern when engaging a professional translation agency is to get a high-quality translation. Not so. Studies have shown that most clients are in fact more interested in speed than in quality. This is not to say that your client will be pleased to accept any trash as long as he gets it fast; the point is that quality standards in a business context are different from those in an academic context, and may be overshadowed by practical concerns. University students are trained to achieve linguistic perfection, to produce translations formulated in impeccable grammar and a superbly neutral style. Yet the fruits of such training may not be quite to the business client’s taste. In fact, there are probably as many tastes as there are clients. A lawyer will expect you first and foremost to build unambiguous clauses and use appropriate legalese; a machine builder requires technical insight and authentic technical jargon; and the publisher of a general interest magazine needs articles that are simply a good read. What all clients tend to have in common, however, is a reverence for deadlines. After all, when a foreign client has arrived to sign a contract, there should be something to sign; when a magazine has been advertised to appear, it should be available when the market expects it. In a business environment, many different parties may be involved in the production of a single document, which means that delays will accumulate fast and may have grave financial consequences. So, starters should be aware that ‘quality’ equals adaptability to the client’s register and jargon, and that short deadlines are as likely to attract business as quality assurance procedures.

And if you manage to attract business, you will find that the translation industry can be quite profitable, even for business starters. The third myth we would like to negate is that translation is essentially an ad hoc business with very low margins. Not so. Various successful ventures in recent years, for example in the Netherlands and in Eastern Europe, have belied the traditional image of the translator slaving away from dawn till dusk in an underheated attic and still barely managing to make ends meet. It is true that the translation process is extremely labour intensive, and despite all the computerisation efforts, the signs are that it will essentially remain a manual affair for many years to come. Nevertheless, if you are capable of providing high-quality translations, geared to your client’s requirements and within the set deadlines, you will find that you will be taken seriously as a partner and rewarded by very decent bottom line profits.


Careers in the Non Profit Sector


There are quite a few people with jobs that are not as rewarding that they would like them to be. Most of us keep weighing other options and avenues to expose our creativity. At the same time, we keep looking for opportunities to reach out and touch the lives of the needy. If this is your desire, then it may be worth considering a career in the non-profit sector. Anyone can volunteer for non-profit work and in return gain not only experience, but respect and peace of mind as well. It shows one’s willingness to contribute positively to society. The work could involve environment protection, volunteering, experimenting with food, caring for the handicapped or a keen approach towards reforming local politics.

You should follow some of the tips listed below before considering the non-profit sector as a career option.

Find A Job That Suits You

It is encouraging to note that a multitude of options are available in the non-profit sector. You can start as a volunteer and then slowly steer your way towards your field of interest. The other option is to let your interests in a particular field guide you right from the start.

Gather Information

Refer to books, websites, magazines and newspapers and any other material you can identify. Meet people already working in your chosen field and ask about their experiences. Develop a deep understanding of the various types of nonprofit organizations and focus on the human-services charities.

Analyze What Skills You Have

If you are already working, analyze the skills you have learned from your workplace. Use those to the best of your ability in your current workplace. Often, people seeking placement in the non-profit sector have a feeling that they do not possess the skills required for the job. This is a general misconception and you should have confidence in yourself and the abilities you already have.

Be Practical About Salary

While you may not always be offered a good salary, there is no harm in negotiating with the employer. Generally, non-profit organizations know that they cannot offer a very attractive salary and therefore provide various other perks such as travel allowances, maternity leave and post retirement benefits. These add-ons compensate for the low monetary benefit and in turn secure your post-retirement options.

Realize Your Responsibilities

In the non-profit sector, you tend to shoulder much more responsibility than in the private sector. You also have a responsibility towards society, your organization and yourself. Always keep in focus the intention with which you opted for the career change.

Once you have selected your job and start working, remember that you are making a difference in the lives of many people, while at the same time earning a living for yourself. You can inspire those around you to take up similar placements as well. A career in the non-profit sector can make the art of earning a living while exploring personal resources more meaningful.


Why Beautiful Mature Women Let Themselves Go


In high school, she dated the cutest boy in class. She was voted college home-coming queen by a landslide. As a young career woman, she was a force to be reckoned with; charismatic and sharp. Now at age 45, she has gained 30 pounds and spends most of her days in sweat pants and extra large t-shirts. Why do beautiful mature women, let themselves go?

1. They don’t have the time. Many women feel there are just not enough hours in the day to spend on themselves. The demands of family, work, and social obligations keep their schedules jam-packed. If time is a dilemma, try these time saving strategies: get a stunning low maintenance haircut, hang your clothes into fashionable ready to wear outfits, brighten up your face with a little mascara and a nice shade of lipstick, get fit by walking more and sitting less.

2. They don’t have enough money. We are living in tough times with rising gas and food prices. Most women just don’t feel splurging on themselves is justified. However, in tough times we need to be at our best just to cope. Try to limit your shopping to items that will supplement or update your wardrobe like, a new blazer, handbag or shoes. Color your own hair with color kits from the drugstore . Workout to television exercise shows.

3. They have low self -esteem. These are the women who usually say they don’t care how they look or what others think. Unfortunately, judgments are made everyday about your competency, honesty, and intelligence based upon your appearance. The way you look could make the difference between finally getting the job you’ve been after, and not getting it. Make an effort to look your best. Show the world that you care.

4. They don’t know how to put themselves together. When we were younger it was pretty easy to look good. You usually just picked up a fashion   magazine  and followed the latest trends. But  magazines  are usually geared towards women in their twenties and thirties. What is a mature woman to do? If you can afford it, invest in a personal stylist. A professional can help you develop a look that is uniquely you. If money is a problem, look for clothes that fit and flatter you, get tips on makeup from department store makeup artists, and check out exercise DVDs from your local library.


Ladies – Are You a Contender?


Recently I contributed to an article which appears in the October 2010 issue of SHE magazine, looking at “Contender Syndrome”. This is a new trend in women, which is characterised by some of these behaviours or feelings:

– constantly defining yourself by what you’re not, and focusing on what you haven’t achieved,
– getting depressed by the plethora of amazing deeds everyone else seems to be doing, rather than appreciating your own successes. (Apparently this is exacerbated by Facebook and social networking sites filled with everyone else’s amazing achievements).
– dreaming of your big break, when the job, man, family dream all comes together (e.g. the perfect life other people have) rather than seeing how fantastic your life already is.

I found this very interesting, and was amazed at the degree to which I could empathise with the feelings above and, dare I say it, identify times when I could probably have been considered to be “suffering” from Contender Syndrome myself.

I think my feelings of Contender Syndrome started at University – having gained a place at Oxford, I felt an immense amount of pressure to make the most of that opportunity, and “deliver the goods”. My overall experience of University was not particularly positive, and I think this was due in no small part to constantly comparing myself and my achievements to those around me – exacerbated by the fact that I was at an all women’s college, so was surrounded by high flying women with whom to compare myself!!!

I had a couple of very non-directional years after Uni, unable to commit myself to a career path, knowing the sorts of jobs that many of my friends had taken in accountancy, PR, marketing etc weren’t for me yet feeling bad and inadequate as I saw them land high salary contracts. I finally decided to train as a teacher.

To be honest, the “Contender Syndrome” continued strongly as I fought to work my way up to a position as Head of Department in a successful London comprehensive school. I felt I was being pushed by some “inner conditioning” / “inner voice” constantly telling me that I SHOULD be going for promotion, SHOULD be moving up the career ladder, SHOULD be doing as well as or better than colleagues who hadn’t been to Oxford! I also felt a compulsion to reach a certain (high) point in my career before even considering marriage / children in order to prove to “society” that I was a serious career woman.

I believe that a lot of my unhappiness stemmed from expectations – not necessarily REAL, but certainly PERCEIVED by me. Expectations as to what intelligent women should achieve, what constituted a successful career for a woman with an Oxford education, what “serious career women” looked and acted like, and high expectations of myself due to constantly comparing myself with my contemporaries. At the age of 33, having landed that elusive management job, I remember being overcome by a sense of wondering why on earth I had spent so long striving for this promotion, and a realisation that I didn’t really even want it. I actually left that Head of Department job after just a year, started a family whilst working part-time in a job with no pressures, and took the time to stand back and look at what I really wanted from life.

During my years as a stay-at-home Mum, the feelings of “Contender Syndrome” subsided, only to rear their head again when my children started school, and I again fell foul of those “expectations” that I should now re-enter the workforce. If anything it was worse then, because I felt GUILT at the fact that I had fallen so far behind many of my friends who didn’t get of the career ladder to have kids. I was looking at part-time teaching jobs to fit around school hours and holidays, whilst my best friends from Uni were on six-figure salaries in the City, or had landed fab jobs abroad and married high flying diplomats (TRUE!!!)

This was the point at which I decided to get myself a life coach. I had been through counselling at various points (most notaby at Uni, and when I left the Head of Department job) and it hadn’t worked for me. But coaching was about re-designing your future as opposed to analysing your past, so I thought it was worth a go. In brief, what my coach helped me to accept was that I didn’t need to VALIDATE myself against other people, I didn’t need to “keep up” or prove my worth to anyone. She helped me to actually accept and even like myself as I am, and to take life’s choices and opportunities as they came along, evaluate them in relation to my own life (not other people’s) and run with the ones that would make me HAPPY, as opposed to the ones that I felt I was expected to take!

The greatest testimony to how effective coaching was in helping me to overcome the feelings of inadequacy associated with “Contender Syndrome” is that I subsequently chose to train as a coach myself, and to specialise in helping women LIKE MYSELF, to ease up on themselves and appreciate themselves as they are, rather than comapring themselves to others and constantly looking for external validation of their worth.

I have a couple of pieces of advice for women suffering from “Contender Syndrome”. The most important is that they need to get off the treadmill / merry-go-round / ladder or whatever, and give themselves permission to take a break (doesn’t have to mean resigning your job like I did – a couple of days at a spa could be enough!). Think about the things in life that are TRULY making them happy, and the things they are doing because they think they SHOULD. (I hate the word SHOULD! I think many of us would be a LOT happier just by eliminating that word from our vocabulary!!!). Create a vision of what they would like in their lives – gather up a pile of pictures form magazines etc and stick them in a sort of collage so that you get a picture of all the things you REALLY want in your life (some material, some emotional etc). Then start replacing the stuff you do because you SHOULD with the stuff in your picture that you do because you WANT TO, and watch your happiness and fulfillment levels rise! Or get a life coach!

In sum, I think that women need to be wary of falling foul of societal pressure – Women have been made to feel that having fought do hard for “equality”, they are doing their sex a disservice if they don’t jump on every opportunity that comes their way. Women have been told that they can “have it all” – career, family, money, love, happiness – and feel a failure if they don’t achieve it all with bells on. We women MAY be able to HAVE this stuff, but we need to stop and consider do we really WANT it, and accept that there’s nothing wrong with us if we make different choices from those around us.


“Someday” Is Not a Desired Vacation Destination


How many of us dream about leaving the 9 to 5 work world to run our own on-line or home based businesses? To avoid dressing up everyday, the daily commute being stressed from rude and aggressive drivers, the daily search for a parking spot, late commuter trains, crowded subways, or dealing with demanding or unreasonable bosses?

How many times, after a frustrating week, have we said, “Someday I’ll be my own boss and have my own business”? How many times have we gone on our yearly vacation determined to start our own business when we return? Does this sound familiar? So what’s stopping us?

Well, for some of us, we’ve taken a vacation to “someday I’ll”, and have never returned. We procrastinate. Why? In some cases, it’s because of “fear”, or, it’s because we already lead hectic lives and believe we just have “no time”. Here’s a few principles that we should keep in mind, principles that can help move us forward to where we want to be.

1) Make The Decision To Excel

We need to make the decision to excel, to start our on-line or home based business. It is nobody’s decision but ours. Life is like a “do it yourself project” – nobody else can do it for us. We are all responsible for our own lives. We need to be “proactive” not “reactive”. We need to not only take the initiative but also to accept the responsibility to make things happen. This means ridding ourselves of “excuses”. If we use the excuse that we have “no time” to start an on-line business, we are being “reactive”, not “proactive” – we are letting something outside of us control us – “time”. If we want something bad enough, we can find “time” – less time for TV; getting up earlier; reducing our discretionary time for non-essential tasks; or scheduling activities and sticking to our schedule (i.e., planning and goal setting).

2) Break the “Comfort” Zone

We have to be able to engage in activities or work that is unfamiliar. We need to break out of our “rut”, or what we normally do. Our comfort zones are all those thoughts and actions within which we feel comfortable – things we’ve done or thought often enough to feel comfortable.

When we do or think of doing things outside of our comfort zone, like starting our own Internet business, we feel uncomfortable, we experience fear. If we say to ourselves that “I can’t start an on-line business, I don’t know how”, then we are stuck with our own internal negative self-talk. We are allowing ourselves to be stuck within our own comfort zone. Our negative thoughts become a self-fulfilling prophecy – what we think is what we’ll get. Here’s the point – FOCUS on what you WANT, NOT on what you FEAR.

3) Adopt the TENPER Principle

What is “TENPER”? It’s a combination of “tenacity” and “perseverance”. Tenacity means we have the attitude that when problems, adversities, or setbacks come our way, we know we can handle anything that life throws at us. Persistence means that our attitude is to stay focused on our goals, to make progress consistently toward what we want to achieve.

Although, we may not attain our original goal immediately, refuse to make excuses. Instead, reaffirm your commitment to proceed, to keep taking action.

If we are waiting for that perfect time to begin developing an on-line Internet business, it probably won’t happen. Just like there is no perfect time to have a flat tire. What we need to ask ourselves right now is this:

What 2 things, 2 actions, could we take today to move forward in the direction of our goal?

The success formula is simple – TAKE ACTION, any action that moves us forward. It doesn’t have to be a huge step – one step at a time, and then another, and then another and then . . . For each action we take, we need to acknowledge our progress as a positive step forward.


Annie Leibovitz, Celebrity Photographer


Annie (Anna-Lou) Leibovitz was born on October 2, 1949 in Westbury, Connecticut to Sam and Marilyn Leibovitz.

In 1967, Annie Leibovitz enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute to study painting. She became interested in photography about the time of her Sophomore year, and she changed her course of study. In 1970, fresh out of college, she got a job with the new start-up magazine Rolling Stone. From 1973 to 1983, she held the position of Chief Photographer. At Rolling Stone she developed the style that she is known for, which has come to include unusual poses, elaborately staged settings, and plenty of bright primary colors. She photographed rock and roll celebrities such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, and Patti Smith. During her stint at Rolling Stone she shot 142 cover shots.

In 1983, Annie Leibovitz moved to Vanity Fair magazine, which gave her access to a wider range of celebrity subjects. That same year, she published her first book, Annie Leibovitz: Photographs, which was a companion book to a show of 60 of her prints, which toured Europe and the US. It was at Vanity Fair that she photographed Whoopi Goldberg naked in a bathtub of milk, and Demi Moore naked and pregnant.

In 1986, she began doing commercial work, for such clients as The Gap, Honda, and American Express, which earned her a Clio award in 1987.

Annie Leibovitz met Susan Sontag when she was hired to Photograph Sontag for the book AIDS and its Metaphors, in 1989. Sontag became an important friend and influence on Leibovitz. The two carried on a romantic relationship that lasted until Sontag’s death in 2004.

In 1991 Leibovitz had her first museum exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and released a companion book of 242 photos, Photographs: Annie Leibovitz 1970-1990. The show then went on tour for 6 years.

Annie Leibovitz was the official photographer of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Before the Olympics, she photographed many of the athletes in training and released a book of the photos, Olympic Portraits, which included Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson.

In 1999, Annie Leibovitz published a book of her photos of women, titled Women, which also featured an essay by Susan Sontag. In 2006 she released the book A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005, derived from a show at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, which includes her personal photos along with her celebrity portraits. Leibovitz called it “a memoir in photographs.”

In 2001, Leibovitz gave birth to a daughter named Sarah. In 2005, via a surrogate mother, she had two girls named Susan and Samuelle, named for Susan Sontag and Annie Leibovitz’s father, Samuel.

In 2008, Annie Leibovitz was again the center of a controversy for her portrait of Miley Cyrus, which appeared in Vanity Fair. The photo shows a side view of Miley Cyrus wrapped only in a sheet, with a bare back turned toward the camera. Some thought it was too sexual for a photograph of a child. Leibovitz defended it, saying that it had been misinterpreted.


Emperor’s New Clothes


Beware of the naked man who offers to sell you the shirt off his back.

Remember the Danish fairy tale depicted by Hans Christian Andersen of the emperor whose delight and ego revolved around wearing the finest wardrobe? This 1837 story relates the tale of ego, vanity and swindlers. The crafty swindlers received the finest silk, most precious gold-cloth and large sums of money to weave the most elegant suit for the emperor. The secret of the con game was that anyone unfit for their office could not see the fabric. To read the full story, see the link at the bottom.

Ah the perils of ego, vanity and dishonesty. When you truly desire to serve others and improve lives, dishonesty never enters the picture. Ego gets set aside in favor of customer service. Lead with your ego and you may be parading through the streets without your clothes. Now that is a sight to consider. Lead with your ego and you become vulnerable to the swindlers. Like minds do tend to associate. Remember the old “birds of a feather tend to flock together” saying.

Just as the swindlers took the finest cloth and large sums of money and delivered nothing, so the naked man can not sell you something he does not possess. Relying on ego and greed has corrupted many a man. As Napoleon Hill stated in “Think and Grow Rich, “Taking the path of least resistance has made all rivers and some men crooked.”

How do you want your legacy to read? Are you ego driven and perhaps a bit crooked or value oriented? If a man gains the whole world but loses his soul, he has nothing. What is your driving motivation? Sure I know you are not running a business for the practice. I get that. You will either be remembered for the problems you solve or the problems you create. Abraham Lincoln and Adolph Hitler are both remembered – one for the problems he solved and one for the problems he created.

How would you like your legacy to read? Would you like to be remembered as the man with the ego so strong that he walked around naked pretending to be elegantly dressed? Would you like to be remembered as the person who swindled others in order to gain his fortune or the person who provided so much value that he achieved wealth? Personally, my mission in life has always been to deliver value, inspiration and enjoyment. Value must be short term and long term and far exceed the cost involved. Providing information which is essential not only to move one’s personal life forward but also to improve their professional life represents extreme value.

Correlation? Mindset, emotions and values play a significant role in our lives. Even though many do not want to recognize that fact or do anything about it, does not negate the truth. Do an honest personal check. Are you creating problems or solving them? Are you earning by swindling or providing value?

Just like the emperor with no clothes or the naked man, be certain you are practicing solid values. The naked man can not give you something he does not have. The emperor can not even see beyond his ego and vanity. Where is your mindset? Ego, vanity and greed are frequent bed-fellows. How do you want your legacy to read?

Be a person of value and you will smile not only now but for future generations. As a person of value you will receive the wealth to purchase a real suit of clothes.