A few days ago I met with my buddy Dan Gill to talk about his new gig with Candice Coleman Communications LLC,
Dan’s passion and talent with a camera are astounding.  Take a look at some of his work and see for yourself.

Dan was kind enough to give me a few gift certificates to Genghis Grill, one of CCC’s clients. I have not had an opportunity to go eat at Genghis Grill, however, I do love Mongolian BBQ and highly recommend everyone try it (and use the chopstick or you ain’t really trying).  So I had an idea…

Genghis Grill
Ellisville Location
15819 Fountain Plaza Dr.
Ellisville, MO 63017

Hours of Operation:

Sunday – Thursday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
636.527.2714
ellisville@genghisgrill.com

I will give away $20 gift certificates to 3 people (from the St. Louis, Missouri area) who share the best giving stories.  Please keep your stories to a readable length, but most importantly get the point across.  I don’t particularly care what your side of the equation is in this case.  I really want to read some go-giving stories, specifically form the St. Louis, Missouri area.

The only string, we have to grab a cup of coffee and talk like real human beings to exchange the gift cards.  This is the only way I know to ensure humanity finds its way into the technology we all share.

Submission Deadline Friday, April 10, 2009

I’ll do my best to announce winners within a few days.

Who can you tell a story about?
What’s your perspective?
When will you take time to share your thoughts, authentically?
Where’s the best place for coffee?
Why don’t you just write the story your thinking about, NOW?

head-shot Jason R. Thomas

JasonR.Thomas@yahoo.com

314-353-4300

It’s been a while since I left off so I will recap quickly.  I connected Dixie Gillaspie and Scott Becker.   While on the phone with Scott, he suggested that he would like to assist in my career search by putting an announcement in his ASC Review.  Now, I don’t know for sure how big that mailing list is, but I do know it’s HUGE. Everyone in an entire industry has it delivered to their in-box weekly.  What a huge break this could be.

I spent hours writing a 4 sentence blurb describing myself and emailed to Scott later that day. I continued to grow my network locally but in the back of my mind, I knew that THE lead I’d been waiting for would come from the ASC Review.

After the first publishing, nothing happened. No calls, no emails, nothing.  I waited patiently (those that know me wont’ believe that but it’s true).  After the second publishing, nothing.  Then on a Saturday, an email shows up in my in box from Todd with SourceMedical asking if I’d be interested in talking about a sales position with them. Well, YES.

Todd and I spoke several times over the next few weeks.  It became clear to me that I was not a perfect match to the profile SourceMedical originally set out to hire, yet we continued our conversations.  In the end, Todd and SourceMedical chose another candidate.  I certainly don’t blame them.  I am sure the “other guy” represented a much safer choice and is probably doing very well for them today.

The point to my story is, every interaction has value.  Every connection you can facilitate has power and none of us know how much. Further, it’s not for us to decide how the giving comes back towards us.  What I believe – Give like you don’t need it and expect nothing more than the internal joy of the gift, but remain open to saying “Thank you” and meaning it.

head-shotWho owes you a favor?

What do you expect to get in return?

When will you get it?

Where will it come from?

Why are you still thinking in Go-Getter terms? Go-Give.

Jason R. Thomas

JasonR.Thomas@yahoo.com

Landings Provides a Takeoff Platform

I have landed.  This incarnation of my career search has been successful. I am now employed by Skeleton Key a technology firm in St. Louis, in a business development role.  The first person Skeleton Key has had focused completely on bringing new business into the firm. Up until now, that’s been the Principals job, Mark Richman and Oliver Block.  There’s nothing like taking your bosses job…

Now, on to what’s really important.  Landing Provides a Takeoff Platform

If you’ve followed this blog at all you know that I have many people to thank for their assistance along the way to finding Skeleton Key, or being found by Skeleton Key, depending on your perspective.  I was actually introduced to Mark Richman by Gill Wagner (seen here on The Rise to The Top).  Tracking that backwards, I was introduced to Gill by Kevin Pannebecker.  Thanks again to both. They are truly Go-Givers.

When I landed I felt a momentary ease.  It was good to know that I would not be depending on Missouri’s failing unemployment budget any longer.  By the time I actually appeared in the office, ready to work, I realized that while landing felt great, I need to put the rocket boosters back on and take off again.  What?  Take off to where?

My landing provided me a platform (Skeleton Key) from which to launch.  It has also given me new cargo and a new message to add to the Giving Experiment mission.  Many time I have more questions than answers as I ponder how to package the message and new cargo as I continue the mission of giving, but last night and this morning have been especially clear.

With that said, here is an announcement regarding The Giving Experiment.  Look for changes, both stylistic and in the content, over the next couple of months.  I have a few more posts to make regarding my career search.  They seem relevant since I’ve started the story line already and have a few new people to mention along the way.

However, my little experiment is growing as I load a companies business development plans into the cargo hold. Growth is the goal here right?  It is why I started the experiment.

<<< About Skeleton Key >>> We focus in two area, IT Consulting and FileMaker Development. In many ways they go hand in hand, but let me explain for those of you who are not so techno savvy.  Our strengths in the IT business are cross-platform (especially Mac and PC) integration, Cisco issues and unique projects that require creative solutions.  We make Mac and PC play nice together better than anyone in the St. Louis area.  Oliver Block is a magician with Cisco. (Don’t tell him I said it though.)  Our FileMaker Development team is one of the best in the world.  We are a FileMaker Business Alliance Platinum Member.  If you don’t know much about FileMaker it’s worth a look.  There is not quicker, more flexible database tool for small to medium user groups.

head-shot Who are you giving to?

What is your motivation?

When will you commit to making someone else better off?

Where will you go if you get the axe?

Why aren’t you preparing for that?

During on of my conversations with Dixie Gillaspie she was asked which of the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success is the most difficult for people to incorporate into their lives. What an interesting question.

Obviously, the true answer lies only within us, to be shared if we choose. The irony is, the choice to share our true selves is one of The Five Laws. The Law of Authenticity states – The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

As I look back through the encounters I have had so far on my Go-Giving journey, thinking of the wonderful people I’ve met along the way, this idea drives itself home. They have all shared of themselves in ways that most of us would never consider.

First, their time –  I mean why on earth would you take over an hour out of your busy schedule to meet a stranger, who happens to be looking for a new job? But the real proof of Authenticity comes during that meeting. The real proof of Authenticity, for me at least, has been the personal stories these people have told.

I heard a wonderful analogy for authenticity at church a few weeks ago. The priest explained that he enjoyed watching the Mississippi River from atop a certain bluff in the St. Louis area. The mighty river flows majestically through the landscape. Trees and greenery line its bank to the north and towering wall of stone rises from the depths on the south. (I think you get the “pretty picture” idea.)

Walking down to the banks of that same river, in the same area, you see a much different picture. Now you can see that the stained water is really just muddy sediment washed downstream from eroding banks. Branches and natural debris remind you of the destruction caused in recent flooding. Trash and litter ride the flow of water leaving no doubt that we, as humans, share an intimate yet tenuous relationship with Old Man River.

From high atop a bluff, the river is post card worthy. Is that the picture of yourself you show to the world? From up-close-and-personal the river is much different, as are you, as are we all, if we choose to show some authenticity. From experience, I have learned more from those who are willing to share themselves authentically. The brave souls who openly share the struggles they have encountered are inspiring and enlightening.

Obviously there are levels of authenticity that might not be appropriate for a first time networking meeting, so don’t think I’m talking crazy. At the same time, I think authenticity and receptivity are linked in a very direct way. Those areas you are courageous enough to share about yourself are also the areas you will be practicing the Law of Receptivity in.

It’s been true for me, how about you?

Who do you share yourself authentically with?

What stops you from being more authentic with the rest of us?

When will you let the walls and facades start to fall away?

Where do you have no choice but to expose a weakness?

Why don’t you practice being uncomfortable?

Jason R. Thomas

Give a little…

Give a little more…

Give a comment for the comment poor.

Jason R. Thomas

JasonR.Thomas@yahoo.com

Do you know anything about electricity? Think for a moment about your networking being electric. That’s what we’re all after isn’t it? An electric reaction, sparks flying?

A few years ago, I installed a ceiling fan in my home office. It is nice fan complete with remote control. I have developed my amateur electrician skills since childhood but I still took the time to think through the connections, heck I even drew out a few alternatives. After deciding on the best way to proceed, I did.

All of the connections were made, from the switch, new electrical wire running through the wall and ceiling, to the fan itself. The fan was hung. That is about the biggest pain in the back, shoulders and arms, but it was done, and contrary to what all of you are thinking, I did read and follow the manufacturers directions. Light bulbs installed with care. Proudly, I called my wife into the room for the grand unveiling. Flipped the switch… Nothing, nothing happened. Nothing at all.

I double, triple and quadruple checked the wiring connections. They were sound. I installed a new switch, then a double switch so the fan would be on its own. I installed a new outlet. I rewired the entire thing…5 times, literally following all of the other connection options I originally diagramed. Nothing worked.

I talked to an electrician friend of mine, Terry Blatz, owner of Maryland Heights Heating.  (No I did NOT ask him to come fix it, where’s the fun in that.) He suggested that sometimes, on rare occasion the factory will produce bad electrical line, SO I ripped out the electrical wire and replaced it. I was stumped, completely.

Then I saw the remote control sitting on my desk with a battery next to it. I thought, I haven’t tried that. I put the battery in the remote and hit “on.” The light came on. I hit “high” and the fan spun – fast. Evidently the switch inside the fan, controlled by the remote, is factory preset to OFF and no amount of electricity will get through it until you put a battery in the remote and tell it to be ON. The manufacturer does not include directions for that little gem though.

What on earth does this have to do with Go-Giving. Well nothing I just needed to get that story off my chest. No, not really. The moral of the story is to check the connections you make. Make them in more than one form of communication. Let me explain further by continuing my story from the Meeting a Guru post. I ran home to connect Scott Becker and Dixie Gillaspie.

I typed a brief introduction to Scott, using the format I shared in the How Do You Introduce People? post. Then I thought to myself, “what if Scott doesn’t see your email. It has been long time since talked and he is a busy guy, what if it gets set aside to deal with later.” We’ve all done these things ourselves and I always feel bad for it later but sometimes life just gets in the way.

I decide to call Scott. I’ll just leave a voice mail, reminding him of how we met and that I dropped him an email about an individual he should meet. I dial the phone, it rings, a live voice answers…

The shock I feel every time that happens in this age of voicemails dissipates to a point that I can speak.

Scott and I catch up briefly and I tell him about Dixie over the phone. I get the chance to ask him about The Go-Giver and if he’s read it. Not only has he read it, but he gave about 100 copies out to clients and prospective clients as Christmas presents. WOW. He’s got to talk to Dixie now.

Then a most surprising thing happens. Scott suggests, after hearing about my career search, that he can help me by posting a profile in his weekly newsletter. I know his distribution list is huge. An entire industry gets his news letter and keeps up to day with it. This is HUGE. Following the 5th Law of Stratospheric Success I stay open to the possibility of receiving and say “Yes, thank you.”

Who is burning a hole in your mind?

What part of your agenda today can you share with another person and bring some value to their experience?

When is your next lunch meeting with a stranger?

Where do you hide when surrounded by people to meet?

Why stay hidden?

Running a recruiting desk for the past several years gave me a great opportunity to develop a very broad network.  I utilized many resources for no other reason than to network.  As I entered my career search I realized that much of the network I had created was about breadth, not depth.

Let me explain using LinkedIn.com as an example.  When my career search began I had very close to 2,000 direct connections which gave me a huge network of people with whom I could communicate on LinkedIn.  However, of those 2,000 people there were less than 50 who I could pick up the phone and call to share the news of my career search.  Less than 50 who cared a lick.

There are several reasons for that, one being most of the professionals working in my niche at the time were not on LinkedIn.  Historically, they are one of the last groups to join new web based trends.  Another real reason is that my LinkedIn network was designed as a way to attract new, fresh faces into my network in hopes that expanding the breadth would allow me to source more candidates.  Since I only conducted one search in the St. Louis market in 2 years developing a local network was not a priority.

Now I needed a new type of network.  One with heart.  One with depth.  One with local focus.  How could I leverage my current resources (breadth of connections) to create more beneficial resources?  The answer became clear as I search LinkedIn looking for people in the St. Louis area who shared some commonality with.  Did we go to school together?  Are we part of the same groups, or could we be?  Do we live in the same town?

LinkedIn does not encourage connecting with people you don’t know so reaching out to these people is a bit tricky.  It’s almost like internet dating.  As I browsed the personals and want ads.  Sincerely, I looked through LinkedIn’s “groups” for those that were based on locality to St. Louis.  I was fortunate enough to find a group specifically for Wentzville, MO Professionals started by Greg Younger.  Read Greg’s Blog.

Here is the hard part folks.  You can only let the computer do so much of the work.  It will help you get wide but you’ll have to risk a little to get deep.  I sent Greg a not asking if he’d like to go grab a cup of coffee and network.  Greg promptly agreed that we should meet.  He also shared some information about his motives for starting the LinkedIn group which revolve around helping the Wentzville City Parks & Recreation Department raise money to improve the facilities and has evolved into The Friends of the Wentzville Parks.  We’re accepting donations now, but more on that later.

All of this has been easy.  We’ve not met yet.  Now get out the shovel because we’ve got to make this network DEEP.  When Greg and I met we each took some chances in sharing our stories. Greg about the Friends of the Wentzville Parks.  By the way, because he took a leap of faith in sharing his passion on the subject and openly asked me to help he gained a board member for the new group.  I shared with Greg my Go-Giver story up that point and we have truly found common ground in developing a Go-Giver spirit.

Since that first meeting, Greg and I have met several more times in several different settings.  Each time our network gets stronger.  That’s right.  Each time he and I met our network gets stronger….Because it gets DEEPER.  It’s not that we necessarily meet new people each time but when you know someone a little better, nourished that relationship a little more; tend that little plant growing from the small seed you planted.  When you do that.  When you give more VALUE (law 1) to that person in the form of AUTHENTIC (law 4) you and they do the same allowing you to RECEIVE (law 5).  As I know more about Greg I am able to understand his interests and better place them first (law 3). Your network gets DEEPER and stronger creating more wealth generating opportunities (law 2).

Who do you need to give some AUTHENTICITY to?
What VALUE does your network get from you?
When do you make it a point to INFLUENCE people by placing their interests first?
Where are you looking for new COMPENSATION?
Why do we struggle with balance in our desire and willingness to RECEIVE?

Jason R. Thomas

Jason R. Thomas

If you’ve been reading this blog for 5 days or 5 minutes scroll on down to the bottom left of the page and hit “RSS feed” to keep tabs on me.  Or scroll up to the top of the page and do the same.

Also, I invite comments.  My effort is really to share my experience, my Experiment in giving.  Without input from the world it’s hard to know if there’s an impact to the reader (YOU).

At this point in my career search I needed to continue networking with people.  Meeting new people and focusing on targeted companies and individuals.  I have a large online network through Linkedin.com, which will explain why many of the links you see here are to that site.  I developed 2000+ direct connections there as an open networker.  I focused on building a broad network as a recruiter with the intention of using it to identify appropriate candidates and prospective new clients.  However, I did not really know very many people in my network.  I decided that the best thing to do was start with what I have and try to deepen the connections there.

I went through my contacts on LinkedIn.com and sent personal notes to all of my direct contacts within the St. Louis area specifically.  I also looked for groups that would focus my local networking and found a Wentzville Professionals group started by Greg Younger.  I dropped him a personal note as well.  He was one of the few to respond in kind so we easily struck up a conversation.  A few days later we met for breakfast and networking. Greg Younger and I have a lot in common.  We are about the same age, each have a young child and wife and live in a relatively small town (Wentzville, MO) on the western edge of the St. Louis Metro.  Greg also happens to be the premiere Financial Advisor for the Wentzville area so I was very pleased to be meeting with such a well networked individual.  As we spoke I mentioned The Go-Giver and how it had changed my career search.  I did so as a means of explaining that I was more than mildly interested when I asked him what his perfect client looked like.  We talked about it for a few minutes and I thought little more of it.

A few days later I saw Greg again at The Missouri Networking Group.
As we ate lunch Greg made sure to tell me he had read The Go-Giver and was excited about it.  Since our last conversation over breakfast I had made a few more connections associated with the book.  In the process of connecting more deeply with my LinkedIn.com connections I called Joe High , who is also a financial adviser.  Joe’s focus is the high net worth investor and Joe has proven to be one of the most prolific networkers around.  In our conversation about the Go-Giver, he mentioned an associate of his who had been asked by the authors to develop curriculum for coaches and consultants based on The Five Laws and other principals in The Go-Giver.  He mentioned that Dixie Gillaspie also happened to be based out of the St. Louis area. I had also read about Dixie a few days earlier in one of my favorite blogs, written by The Nametag Guy Scott Ginsberg.   Scott’s blog has been driving me to “Put myself out there” as he calls it.  Placing myself outside my comfort zone.  Asking questions I wouldn’t usually ask but would wonder.  Really put in terms of The Go-Giver, Scott’s information pushes me to follow The Law of Authenticity, and The Law of Compensation by meeting more people than ever before.  Anyway, take a few minutes and read his stuff.  It is also amazing.

Now, as you’ll recall, Greg and I are talking about The Go-Giver at a large networking gathering.  I mention that I had heard about someone who’s based out St. Louis and has been asked to develop the coaching and consulting piece of the material in the book.  This conversation if overheard by Kevin Pannebecker , who owns and operates Sparkling Image of Eastern Missouri.  Kevin is truly a connector in the Go-Giving sense.  Kevin suggests that he should introduce Greg and I to Dixie.

Who is waiting to hear from you?
What are you waiting for?
When do you take time everyday to feed your hunger for knowledge?
Where do you find daily inspiration?
Why don’t we see the multiplicity inherent in connecting people to one anther?

To be continued.

If you’ve been reading this blog for 5 days or 5 minutes scroll on down to the bottom left of the page and hit “RSS feed” to keep tabs on me.  Or scroll up to the top of the page and do the same.
Also, I invite comments.  My effort is really to share my experience, my Experiment in giving.  Without input from the world it’s hard to know if there’s an impact to the reader (YOU).