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A Proportional Response…And Other Lessons Learned from TV


This weekend while cleaning my bedroom, I watched the West Wing television series on DVD. West Wing is still one of my favorite television shows. I remember looking forward to “West Wing Wednesday” every week, eager to watch the witty banter by the staff in the White House. President Jed Bartlett is one of my favorite fictional presidents not just because he was brilliant. He was  also kind, had a wicked sense of humor and he loved his wife. One of my favorite episodes from Season 1 is titled “A Proportional Response”. Now for those of you who have never watched West Wing, here’s a brief synopsis: After being offered “a proportional response” to the Syrian military’s downing of a U.S. military plane on a medical mission (and carrying his newly named personal physician), the president asks “What is the virtue of a proportional response – why is it good?”and then demands an option that will have greater impact. His Chief of Staff gradually talks him down, but the President is snarky with everyone, including his wife. The president ultimately agrees to the initial option, but is not happy about it. The president wanted to bring down the “thunder of God” on the Syrians. He wanted the response to be such a devastating blow, that no other country would even think about harming another American citizen. Are you asking yourself, What the heck does this have to do with ‘working my package’? Of course you are. Stay with me. This episode made me think about how people respond whenever we feel we are being disrespected. We tend to overreact in fear that someone else will try to disrespect in the same way. I thought about my “disproportional” responses and I wondered if my anger and need to set the record straight was best way to handle conflict. To be perfectly honest, because hindsight is always 20/20, there some things I should have left alone. I should have ended many conversations sooner than I did because it was clear neither side of the disagreement would be heard but egos can eliminate common sense and courtesy.

Are your responses to conflict proportional? Seeing a situation and a person for who they are, not who you want it or them to be can keep you from overreacting and giving too much time and energy towards people and situations who quite frankly just  don’t deserve it. In the midst of conflict do you think, “If I let this person get away with it, then everyone will think they can do the same thing?” Do you talk about how you are going “set some things straight?” Do you go for the jugular to make a point or do you want a mutual understanding? Do you want crucifixion or correction? Now ask yourself, is it even worth it? Victory is not always in the public defeat of your opponent, but in the calmness of your mind and the ability to just walk away…

With love,

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WYP2015 Speaker Spotlight Series – Tamara Stallings (Part 2)

Tamara Stallings

Here’s Part 2 from Tamara Stallings, Leadership Coach for Gen X’ers and Millennial’s – aka The Young & Fabulous. Tamara Stallings is a Leadership Coach, Millennial Expert, Career Strategist and the brains behind go B Great. A highly successful career strategist who has dedicated twenty years of strategizing, creating best in class leadership initiatives and serving as a Senior Human Resources practitioner with some of the best and brightest leaders, global organizations and individuals around the world.

Looking out 3 to 5 years, beyond the obvious trends, what do you think will be the next big change in your industry?
I hope that people will demand and strive for career happiness.  When I hear people say that they’ve been with an employer for a long time yet in the same breath complain about the work, the boss, the environment, or the lack of opportunities, I cringe. Life is so precious and spending one day in a job or career that does not offer joy is so 1990’s.  It is past time to put career happiness back on the map.  How else will you B Great if you’re not in the space that allows that greatest to shine? Employers want to hire niche experts not generalist.  Many companies are doing more with less, given that, organizations are looking for candidates with a specialty, for example Project Management or Change Management.  If you fit in the generalist category, it may be time to assess your skills, figure out what you do well and focus on being the best at it.

What are three things you’ve told yourself that kept you going during your darkest hour?

When I was a little girl, I learned a song in church and it is based on Isaiah 40:31.  The chorus of that song (and the scripture) says “They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up on the wings like an eagle. They shall run and not get weary, they shall walk and not faint, teach me Lord, teach me Lord how to wait.  This passage reminded me that things would not always be this way and that I need to hold on joyfully.  Soon, I would be soaring as an eagle. That got me excited!

“Five Years from today” is a motto that I live my life by and, it is how I make MAJOR decisions.  In my darkest hour, I asked myself, “Will I regret this decision that I’m about to make five years from today?”  Asking myself this question allowed me to make the decision that I had to make confidently.

I told myself, “Sometimes you just gotta go all out and put two sugars in your coffee.”  Corny I know, but I internally embraced this motto when I wasn’t sure about something, started to let fear get in the way or started to overthink an idea, or a product.  If there were no blaring “don’t do it” signals, I put aside fear and went with it. I believe that if more of us start to live like we only have one life to live, we’d be more fulfilled.

What are three life memories you recall most frequently and why?
Recently, I started consulting at a company at the same time as a new hire.  We worked together for two months and a few days before Christmas, he became sick and died.  He was fairly young.  Shocked was an understatement, especially during the holidays.  His untimely death is a reminder to me that EVERYDAY, I must live the life that I was created to live and not sit idly.

Deciding to move to DC after a two day visit.  I had never been to DC before, but I knew (with every fiber of my being ) as I sat at Howard University’s Homecoming football game, that making the decision to go home to LA, pack my bags and return to DC to become a student at Howard University was exactly what I was supposed to do.  It was one of the most freeing, yet terrifying decisions that I have ever made.

After interviewing with six different companies while unemployed once, I was offered jobs by all six employers.  I had to know why they decided to hire me. They all said that I had exceptional interviewing skills and that I sold the value that I would bring effortlessly.  It was at that point, the light bulb came on and I begin to teach others how to interview to get the job and navigate the world of world successfully.

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WYP2015 Speaker Spotlight Series – Tamara Stallings (Part 1)

Tamara Stallings
Tamara Stallings, Leadership Coach for Gen X’ers and Millennial’s – aka The Young & Fabulous. Tamara Stallings is a Leadership Coach, Millennial Expert, Career Strategist and the brains behind go B Great. A highly successful career strategist who has dedicated twenty years of strategizing, creating best in class leadership initiatives and serving as a Senior Human Resources practitioner with some of the best and brightest leaders, global organizations and individuals around the world.

What are the three biggest benefits you offer to your target audience and why?

Solid career planning– Career planning can get complicated for many reasons.  My role as a coach is to simplify things and partner with you to get clear on your life’s calling and focus on forward momentum.  I create a comfortable space for exploration, help unblock what’s holding you back from making progress, offer suggestions of adjustments, and support you in your growth.  Our sessions are designed to lead with your agenda and help you stay accountable to your goals.  When we both show up to focus on your career advancement, it turns into some pretty powerful stuff.

1:1, Group Coaching and Mentorship Mastermind Seminars -Designed to package the professional for the future—There is an art and science to REAL career happiness.  Planning for a six figure salary, fulfillment beyond money and working in such a way that is far beyond a nine to five is what we all should be striving for.  Monthly I host small group conversations with industry professionals, who are eager to connect with the B Greater community.

Personal Brand Development– Branding is what people say about when you’re not in the room.  If you’re not sure what people are saying about you, I can assure you, they are not saying nice things.  A strong personal brand is a powerful strategy that can do wonders for your career.  I was offered a job after interviewing with the recruiter over the phone.  This was a global government contracting organization.  An employee submitted my resume to the company using the “internal” job posting process.  This particular company’s philosophy was, if an internal employee vouched for the candidate by submitting their resume, then they must be great.  Resumes submitted through an employee automatically was granted an interview.  I literally had a phone interview on Friday night at 7pm and by Monday morning I had a job offer letter in my inbox.

What are the top 3 questions asked by your [customers, readers, followers]?

  1. Why/How do I use a career expert? I tell job seekers and clients who desire to change their career, there is only so much knowledge of how to polish your resume, cover letters that get the attention of a hiring manager and savvy networking at your disposal.  Having an experienced career coach who focuses on your true desires will ensure that you land in the best matched job that you will enjoy and thrive in.
  2. I am unhappy and unfulfilled in my current career, how do I get out? The first step to getting anywhere is deciding you’re not willing to stay where you are. The rest is about strategy, timing and a well-designed plan.
  3. Are you affordable? Why yes, I am. What I know for sure is that if you want to be successful in your career, you can’t afford not to hire a trained and experienced career expert. The return on investment that you get from working with me results my clients in job promotions, salary increases, networking opportunities and career fulfillment.

If you had a list of ‘best-kept secrets’ [websites, books, coaches] you’d recommend, which would you include and why?

Wow, they’re so many out there. A few of my favorite books are:

Knowing Your Value:  Women, Money and Getting What Your Worth by Mika Brzezinski. I love this book for its truth and lessons that we all can learn about how women can achieve their desired recognition and financial worth.

The Dip by Seth Godin—it’s a little book that teaches you when to quit and when to stick with it. I learned so much from reading this book and I learned how to happily quit the things that I needed to quit. Life changing I tell ya!

And, my forth coming book titled, They Had the Nerve to Lay You Off: Lessons I learned from Getting Laid Off.  My book offers tips, inspiration and survival techniques for the unemployed, underemployed or soon to be downsized.

I also love Inc Magazine and Fast Company. You can learn so much about global business issues, technology, creativity and leadership principles. You can’t help but to be successful staying in the know.  These magazines will help you to do so.

What tips can you recommend that you’d only share with a close friend (and everyone reading this blog)?

I believe that you can be whatever you want to be if you’re driven and hungry enough to go after it, have the right mentors, motivators and work hard. I attended Howard University at the age of 30, after spending time in the military. I knew that higher education would change the trajectory of my career and it did.  I went from making $27,000 to six figures in 6 years.  No it was not easy but it was worth every tear that I shed and every late night spent at the library.

Life and work has a way of getting your attention. You had better pay attention because that thing will keep knocking and knocking and knocking until you have no choice but to pay attention. Your intuition is the best thing that you have going for you. Trust it.

To be continued next week….