Under the Social Influence: Going From Reckless to Responsible in Today's Socially Distracted Society

Under the Social Influence: Going From Reckless to Responsible in Today's Socially Distracted Society

by Chuck Wilson

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Overview

Each part of "Under the Social Influence"  captures specific (positive and negative) influences that can impact a successful life and career. It uses examples of what generally happens, unique and sometimes humorous stories of what went wrong and then methods for altering the reader’s behavior as they grow and mature. The book appeals to Gen Y workers seeking their first “real” job, employers looking to figure out why their millennial workers act as they do, and helps everyone put life in perspective and focus on what’s really important. This is a cut-to-the-chase, no nonsense, real world, tough love playbook for those struggling to get ahead and those under the influence of negative social situations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781614484653
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Publication date: 03/12/2013
Pages: 140
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Chuck Wilson spent the first 20 years of his career learning and providing advanced technology and integrating complex systems in high-tech buildings. The next phase of his career has been at the helm of a non-profit organization focused on industry advancement and workforce development at the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) . During that time he launched the NSCA Education Foundation whose mission is to help build the next generation of systems integration professionals and has served on many workforce development boards and councils.
Having coached and consulted with hundreds of businesses, he now steps back to share his stories and experiences on how technology and social interaction can be properly integrated to build and strengthen chances for the success with the generation now entering our workforce. Through his extensive travel and observations Wilson realized that our technology-savvy workforce faces everyday social challenges and multiple self-inflicted distractions that are seriously impeding a successful start with the Gen-Y’s first real job.
Wilson has given dozens of presentations on the effective use of technology, business development, attracting and keeping the best talent and establishing career paths for today’s workforce. Wilson was a co-founder of an organization called ESPA which is a collaborative non-profit group formed to educate high school and college students on the career opportunities in the residential, consumer, commercial and professional electronics and communications industry.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Reality check: Are you living under the social influence?

Is your life overbooked with too many meaningless things as a result of poor time management and not being able to say no? On average we spend more than two hours a day just checking and responding to work e-mail. When you add Facebook and Twitter into the mix, the hours you spend on social media in an effort to stay connected with family and friends does just the opposite: it makes you less social. Have you isolated yourself from people because of your addiction to social media? I see no evidence that the instant connectivity of social networking has made anyone's life simpler or better. I've seen it used as an anonymous and asynchronous way to vent frustration and damage relationships.

Are you obsessed with having more stuff than your friends and setting career goals based strictly upon an income level to support this obsession? Do you feel that life doesn't seem fair? The truth is, life doesn't have to be a constant competition, especially not with friends, neighbors, or family. If it feels that way, then you're experiencing a lot more stress than you really should at your age.

Let's take a quick test of where you are today, and then see how you got there and why. This ten-point checklist is the "misery meter" for those racing to get to an undetermined destination as fast as they possibly can.

How many of these ten statements below describe you?

[] Always late, feeling rushed, frazzled

[] Always angry at someone or about something

[] Always broke and live paycheck to paycheck

[] Always tired, or exhausted, or frustrated

[] Always feel lonely but are seldom alone

[] Always apologizing for underperforming

[] Never face to face with your closest friends

[] Never are happy and seldom laugh at work

[] Never willing to stop the destructive habits

[] Never unplugged from technology

If you checked the majority of the boxes, then your life needs a simplification. From my vantage point, I see far too many young people who are simply overextended in every facet of their lives because of impatience, bad advice, mismanaged finances, and unhealthy relationships.

By their own admission, most of the unhappy people I've helped train tell me that they either didn't choose their system for living, or they discovered that they don't like the system they once believed in. They were greatly influenced by others who didn't have their best interests in mind. I encourage these people to first start by admitting there is a problem and committing to an "I will" attitude versus an "I will try" attitude about making changes in their priorities and any negative behavior that is limiting their chances of achieving success.

As we age we find ourselves in a constant state of uncertainty regarding the pace that we want for our lives. Sorting out the pleasures of a simple life from the doldrums of pure boredom may be a daily occurrence for you. If you have a good job, if you have a support system in place, if you have faith in yourself, and if you have a strong work ethic, then you have everything you need to make positive changes. Maybe you have simply driven yourself to a hectic and unhappy place because you are chasing the life that someone you know already has. Big mistake. You need to focus on your goals and ambitions and avoid being envious of friends', neighbors', and coworkers' lifestyles.

If you fit the profile from the checklist above, you may be allowing others to determine who you are and how you feel about yourself. You're living under the social influence. Sooner or later, there will be that day of reconciliation when you realize how short life really is, and instead of allowing other people, financial burdens, or your work control you, you'll want to simplify your pursuits to only include what you believe is most important.

Why not make that day sooner rather than later? Keep reading.

CHAPTER 2

Focus on the process — not the outcome

Let's start at the very beginning. Anytime you are charged with managing people, coaching a team, raising a child, or teaching a class, it is far more productive to focus on incremental steps than to dwell on the final outcome. That's not to say that you shouldn't have expectations of the desired outcome, it is simply a way to keep from becoming frustrated along the way. For instance, if a state championship is the goal, speak of it as a team once in a while, but focus primarily on what has to be done in order to win that title. In business there is a saying: Always manage by objective. That's a great strategy once an unambiguous goal is determined and communicated. The process is the accomplishment of individual objectives; the outcome is achieving the established goal. I find that business and sports are a lot alike in this respect.

In almost every scenario described above, you are only really in charge for a short while. Think about coaching as an example. Athletes will move on to the next coach and then to one after that. Your job as the manager or supervisor is to instill the proper work ethic, habits, and other key business traits. People get promoted or change jobs. Teaching is the same, parenting is the same, and even at work your direct reports won't work for you forever. Think back to school and the best teachers, coaches, or counselors you have had. Replicate the way they instilled a work ethic in you. They are your motivational role models as you begin your career.

What really motivated you in high school or college? Was it grades, win/loss records, or a natural competitive spirit? Were you driven to achieve these things thanks to your mentors pushing you to become better? My guess is that the people who you remember most fondly will be the mentors who encouraged you to make strides toward doing your personal best. It's the collective personal bests that when combined in a strategic fashion add up to great team achievements. Work is no different. Great companies are nothing more than great people doing their collective best work, day in and day out.

Okay, so you want to make more money and get promoted quickly. Your first thought is to use this job as a means to get to the next one and then one day you will be the boss. The only thing wrong with that is if you focus solely on the outcome and not the process, you will get frustrated quickly. Whereas you will discover that your work can have more meaning and you can actually learn to love the job you currently have if you find creative ways to be great at it. You have two choices: You can be bored, go through the motions, and do a satisfactory job, OR you can do your job better than anyone who has come before you. If you do it better than it's ever been done, you will have loved that job and will be ready for the next one.

If you focus on the outcome alone, your work will seem like endless hours of frustration with no end in sight. End goals should be set but not obsessed over on a daily basis. This is a difficult message to convey to the generation of workers that have been labeled the "Me generation." My generation has caused some of this impatience in our children by encouraging behaviors such as "just take care of you." In the workplace, the company comes before the individual, and as parents of a generation entering the workforce, we need to encourage that mentality.

Parenting and working full time are an overwhelming combination. Maybe you feel that you will be — need to be — the perfect working mother. Guess what? There isn't such a thing. What there is plenty of are very tired, very frustrated working women ready to collapse at the end of the day or snap at anyone who asks if they need some extra help — say your own mother maybe? Believe it or not, you are not the first young mother who thinks they can have it all. Be realistic and patient.

Dads today want more time to be part of their kids' lives, and that is very tough with travel, late hours, and work-from-home expectations in the evenings. Providing for your family has not gone out of style. It's an expectation that is commendable. If you can't make every soccer game, explain to your kids the essential role you play and how you provide. They will learn a work ethic from watching what you do and how hard you work. Your example will stay with them their entire life. Many before you have gone through this very same process.

Just give your personal best as you were taught early on. As an employee, manager, or parent, no one expects more than that of you. If your personal best isn't good enough for your employer then chances are the fit just isn't right for either of you. The process can begin again without starting from scratch.

Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.

Jim Rohn, American author and motivational speaker

* * *

Have you stayed in touch with a mentor or role model you really admired?

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Who are the most positive and supportive people in your life today?

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Besides money, what motivates you to do better each day?

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CHAPTER 3

Truly believe in what you believe is true

A life that is dedicated to strong beliefs, commitments, values, and ethics will truly become a life worth living. How can you make your life truly meaningful if you support a cause only when convenient or when it fits into your schedule? People with strong beliefs seem to enjoy life and are well grounded. On the flip side, pretending to believe in almost everything and overcommitting to the cause du jour simply adds to the chaos you should be trying to avoid. Saying no to half-hearted beliefs is just as important as saying yes to your true beliefs. Limit your volunteer time, financial support, and emotional capacity to what truly matters most.

Here are a couple of tough questions I get asked on a regular basis: Should your political and cultural beliefs define your career? Can your faith dictate your work ethic and habits? I say "absolutely" to both! Many great leaders have made their beliefs well known. Some do so knowing full well that it will limit their customer base, yet they are guided by core principles. Social influences don't sway their beliefs. Many great companies have well-documented statements that come right from the personal beliefs of the CEO. These are core values instilled deep within these leaders, ones they are proud to share.

These owners empower their staff. They allow employees to switch product lines, create new advertising, and make hiring decisions. What they don't tolerate is a variance to their core beliefs and operating principles. The most successful leaders with strong core values also communicate them very effectively.

Social media is a primary way that causes and brands are advertised these days. Everyone wants you to be a fan or a friend of their business or product. I would challenge you to really think about how much time you spend on this and its overall importance. If you're constantly immersed in following your friends' and celebrities' Facebook updates and tweets, it's hard to even remember what you believe is most important. In this case, it's time to just unplug and remember who you are, and live out of that center.

This "cause of the month club" may be more harmful than a simple distraction. If you find yourself jumping on each bandwagon that passes by, the purpose for doing this might also have to do with popularity, the need to be noticed, misguided values, or even boredom. The reputation of being chameleon-like in philosophy will soon follow. That shallowness will never truly define you, nor will it lead to success or happiness.

Who you let influence and define the person you are is of top priority. While parents, educators, true friends, mentors, and leaders in faith are rightfully influential, only you can define the person you need to be. Rely on your core values to define yourself at work and in your personal life, and hopefully good synergy will develop between them. Especially for young ladies, never let anyone define you based upon your looks, weight, failed relationships, and other superficial factors. Keeping core values and beliefs intact is a far better way to define who you are. Know exactly who you are, what makes you that way, and be very proud of that.

Finding a job where your core values match that of the company's is a goal worth striving for. Don't compromise any values that make you uncomfortable or ashamed of what you do for a living. Somehow you need to figure out early on what or who inspires you. It may be volunteer work, it may not be. It may be something totally different than your work, but it's out there — I'm certain of it.

* * *

Are you able to articulate the core values you've already established?

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Do you have trouble saying no to every good cause that presents itself?

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Can you tell the difference between true core values and those that are merely helpful or good?

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CHAPTER 4

Be accountable to yourself first

At the end of the day, do you own the problems you have, or do you blame others for your chaotic and complicated life? It's time to be honest with yourself: Have your work or financial setbacks been self-induced for the most part? An all too common example of this is the use of credit as opposed to spending real money that you have earned. Credit is a term used to describe the use of other people's money and in exchange, paying a huge fee for doing so. What stinks is that you eventually have to pay it back. It's never free or without consequences.

I will probably never understand why teens and Millennials share so much on their social media sites. I don't see the upside or gain from doing this. I see all sorts of risks. What about you? Do your Twitter posts seem to come back and haunt you? Retweeting is the newest form of gossip, but unlike the standard rumor mill, we start the problems ourselves. A good friend of mine recently equated the use of Twitter in this decade to smoking pot in the '70s as it relates to overall productivity. It can be just as mind-numbing for young people and the new crutch for those determined not to directly interact with society.

Those who lack discipline have a tendency to get trapped in holes that they can't dig out of. Managing a reputation will become very similar to managing money. It is a currency that translates into your eventual worth to employers. By the way, old people do check your Facebook page, credit scores, and resources in an effort to explore your behavior outside of work. Inappropriate pictures are the worst possible reputation killer.

Do you find yourself to somehow always be in the middle of problems at work that you didn't create? Are you adding to the problem? Or are you finding quick and simple ways to fix the problem without making a scene? This is where your credibility can be built or destroyed. Upon spotting a problem, create healthy boundaries between you and disruptive coworkers immediately.

If you are by nature a negative person, please be mindful of how that comes across to others. Eventually, people tend to distance themselves from those who show a constant negative opinion about others or the business. That's not to say that taking an opposing view is bad, but when you do oppose an idea, deliver it with that an alternative suggestion to make something better. If you develop a reputation for constantly spewing negative thoughts, you will soon run out of people with whom to share them.

Don't be that person in the office who stirs things up just for excitement. Savvy corporate managers look for the common denominator in staffing problems. They quickly learn who is the real instigator of office drama. Don't be that person who keeps your boss up at night worrying what might happen tomorrow. Don't be the girl with the tattoo on your chest who complains of coworkers staring at your cleavage. You really must stop that behavior because nothing good ever comes from instigating office drama. All this will do is make you and those around you miserable.

Are you an overly competitive person by nature? Today's new workers have been raised to compete. All through school it's one highly competitive activity — sports, music, choir — after the next. All of this can be healthy, and if taken in the right context it can be a good way to prepare for the workforce. However, remember that the competition in an office environment isn't with the person next to you, the department next to yours, or the division on the floor above you. No, the competition is with other companies, not within your own. Focus your competitive spirit in a way that helps your employer, not yourself. By doing that, your credibility increases right along with your potential for advancement.

Brilliance is often undermined by bad behavior. Every organization has the man or woman we refer to as the BBHP. That stands for bad behavior/high performer. Those people wear you out. They meet the goals and objectives of the job, but in the process they wreak havoc within and demotivate the organization. These people are a manager's biggest headache because they have a very hard time justifying firing them, yet they have so much trouble managing the negative behavior that influences others. Look around your company, and if morale is low, my guess is a BBHP is in your midst. Please make sure that if morale is low in your company that it isn't because of you. It may stem from a misguided attempt at becoming influential.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Under the Social Influence"
by .
Copyright © 2013 Chuck Wilson.
Excerpted by permission of Morgan James Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction,
Part 1 Simplify Your Life: Determine Your Core Values,
Chapter 1 Reality check: Are you living under the social influence?,
Chapter 2 Focus on the process — not the outcome,
Chapter 3 Truly believe in what you believe is true,
Chapter 4 Be accountable to yourself first,
Chapter 5 Live on purpose,
Chapter 6 Carve out decision-making time every day,
Part 2 The Social Influence @ Work,
Chapter 7 Work at work,
Chapter 8 Avoid the "progressive workplace" trap,
Chapter 9 Keep tattoos and piercings in hidden places only,
Chapter 10 Don't be stupid,
Chapter 11 Save the drama,
Chapter 12 Build workplace trust,
Chapter 13 Learn to fit in to company culture,
Chapter 14 My new boss is a woman!,
Chapter 15 Be fully aware in every situation,
Part 3 The Social Influence @ Home,
Chapter 16 Attract healthy people,
Chapter 17 Communicate to make conflict productive,
Chapter 18 Understand that the best things in life aren't things,
Chapter 19 Give and save before you spend,
Chapter 20 Earn more than you spend; save more than you borrow,
Chapter 21 Don't just raise children; raise future adults,
Part 4 Moving Forward,
Chapter 22 Get ahead by working hard,
Chapter 23 Use your secret weapon,
Chapter 24 Restore and replenish,
Chapter 25 Develop emotional IQ in the post-dodgeball era,
Chapter 26 Learn from adversity,
Chapter 27 Establish priorities worth keeping,
Chapter 28 Be more human,
Conclusion,
Appendix Becoming a Mentor: Tips and Techniques,
Acknowledgments,
About the Author,

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