from Dr. James Michael Nolan, President of Southwestern College, Santa Fe

Archive for the ‘Professional Advice’ Category

Articles on Obamacare (ACA) and Mental Health Work/Jobs

   President Bobo                  My name is Jim Nolan, and I am President of Southwestern College in Santa Fe, a graduate school offering MA’s in Counseling and Art Therapy/Counseling. I feel a great responsibility in these turbulent times to make a contribution to the women and men whose calling it is to enter the “mental health” professions.

This entire web site is a gift and an offering to you. Best of luck in your own decision to make helping others your life’s work and journey…



PS: I also don’t know why the first 100 articles come out double-numbered, but in the spirit of getting a move on, I am going to leave them. They don’t seem to be hurtin’ nobody…              

                                      Obamacare and Mental Health/Behavioral Health

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What Is Thought Leadership?

What is Thought Leadership? by Jim Nolan, Santa Fe

Dr. James Michael Nolan       There are people who begin conversations, push conversations into new territory, collect new information, data or research in order to enliven and enrich, and deepen the conversation.

They’re the first bird to leave the wire, the one who breaks trance before the others, the one for whom the internal alarm rings while the others are still sleeping.

You post on your Facebook wall, and 39 people comment. You are among the weekly  Top Influencers in key Linked In groups (not all of them, mind you, but the one or two most aligned and related to your mission.)

People follow you, perhaps in agreement and admiration, perhaps to argue, but they follow you.

Intentionality is key here. If you are building a private practice, or a consultation business of any sort (Ayurvedic lifestyle, financial, social media, physical fitness, small business), or offering a service, you presumably know your field. What conversations are not happening (yet)? What has you impassioned? What are the controversies? How is your view/service unique? Start those conversations, and keep them alive. Slow down, and you fall asleep like everybody else. Then someone will end up leading you.

Important Note: You don’t have to be the first or the loudest on the planet to be a Thought Leader, to start your conversation. There are innumerable concentric Tribes, and you just have to be the first in a Tribe to start the conversation.

For example, your Tribe could be The International Counseling Association, the American Counseling Association, the Southwestern States Counseling Association, the New Mexico Counseling Association, the Counselors de Santa Fe Collaborative, your Psychopathology class at Southwestern College, or your triad that is discussing the importance of metaphor in the field of Psychology. Those are all Tribes, all opportunities to lead. Some Tribes have more followers, more clout (or Klout), and your business and mission will dictate where you choose to roam and lead.

Thought Leadership usually involves more thoughtful, expanded, and expansive pieces, probably blog pieces in the social media world, or being a presenter at the conference. The ones who make comments to others’ posts, or just attend the conference, do not usually lead.

No, you make a greater, intentional, thoughtful, and informed effort, and surprise, or delight, or shock, or awaken, or instigate, or motivate, or flat out push somebody out of their seat.

You get noticed.

And once you get noticed, it becomes increasingly easier to stay noticed.

Go write a blog piece and lead a conversation. I just did…

Seven Career Development Suggestions

 jim      Seven Ways to Build Your Resume & Create Career Opportunities

1) Join a professional organization,

2) Volunteer for a leadership position in it

3) Present at a professional, state level conference

4) Write a piece for Sunspots, the newsletter of the New Mexico Counseling Association (or a similar newsletter)

5) Volunteer to help the New Mexico Art Therapy Association president Maggie Karlick. She has been looking for a secretary for that organization, and she can always use Social Media help. Ask for a title, or role. Put it on your resume.

6) Blog for anybody, everybody, NMCA, NMASERVIC, NMATA, Southwestern College, and so on. Add a section to your resume called “Published Professional Blog Pieces” and list out the best ones, and give a URL to your web site where all of them are chronicled.

7) Oh, and if you are not on Social Media, well, good luck with that. In my world you might as well be wearing cutoffs to a job interview. “Yeah, I know it is the biggest communicational phenomenon in the history of the planet earth, and that 1/8th of the planet is on Facebook, but I don’t really have time for that kind of thing.” OK, bye. Next.

OK, here is the dealio: Currently, the New Mexico Counseling Association has SIX Executive Board Member positions open. Out of twelve. What the hey? Here is one way to look at it: “Why do I want to volunteer a bunch of time for no pay to an organization that is not really doing much that interests me, and where almost nobody is under 50 years old?” OK, that’s fair.

Here is another way to look at it: In bigger states, with more people and members in their professional organization, you would never have a shot at these kinds of openings, or it would take you a longer while to get that shot anyway. You have to remember that being an Executive Board Member for a state-level professional organization is a very nice resume line. And it is good networking, and, if you are a self-initiator, you can make a difference. This is nothing but a Win Situation for you, but you DO have to contribute and it does take time and energy. AND, that resume line lives on your resume forever. If you don’t get it, someone else will, and you do not want to compete for a job with too many people who have been active at the state level. Just sayin’.

At state level conferences in New Mexico, it is not all that hard to get accepted as a presenter at a conference. And you can collaborate with another professional, or one of your instructors, and increase the chances of getting accepted. Professional presentations are also lifelong resume lines, and are looked upon favorably by employers.

The rest of it is pretty straightforward. Volunteer, excel, write, blog, write, blog, write, blog. Have a decent web site.

It is not the hardest thing in the world to build your resume or Curriculum Vitae. It is not quantum physics. But you have to initiate, you have to have energy, you have to be willing to be excellent, you have to take note of everything you do and make it part of your resume, creating sections to accommodate skills and experiences you develop and create for yourself.

It is extremely likely that I am preaching to members of the choir, and equally likely that another whole group of readers either did not finish this piece, or finished saying “Where am I supposed to get the time and energy for that?” Lord knows it is difficult to bust into your Gray’s Anatomy and American Idol time—I get that. But if you use some intentionality, and have a plan, and want to create a successful and dynamic career, there ARE things you can do to manifest such a dream.

You do it by doing it.

And remember:

Your talk talks,

and your walk talks,

but your walk talks louder

than your talk talks.

Jim Nolan, President of Walk Talkers, Inc.

Five Tips On Career Development: Ignore if You are Lazy

New Mexico JobsFive Tips On Career Development and Advancement

by Jim Nolan

Warning: If you are lazy, or like being a victim, do not read any further. It won’t really do you any good. 

1. If you are hired to work for X hours a week, NEVER say to yourself, and certainly not to your employer: “I hit my hour limit—I’m done for the week.” No, you’ll be done for good, more likely. At least you’ll never be on my “People I want on my team” list. Keep working until you feel good about the job you have done. If you ever find yourself saying regularly “You don’t pay me enough to do that”, you are energetically probably  finished at that job. Might as well pack your stuff. It may very well be true, and your take may very well be reasonable, but nobody is going to be happy—neither you nor your boss. It’s a lose-lose. So it may be time…

2. Say frequently, and sincerely, to your supervisor, boss, business owner—“How can I most help the department/school/company?” Or even with humor “How can I help make you look good today?” If you only think about you, that will be really obvious, really soon. “What can I do to help you do your job better?” I don’t think I have ever been asked that.

3. Read the environment, the department, the company, the marketplace, the competition. Offer your observations unsolicited. Do some research nobody asked you to do, and write it up. “I’ve been looking at some data, and I think you might find this interesting/useful.” Do the unexpected. Do what is asked, and as importantly, what is not asked, but should be. Go a step further.

4. Ask your supervisor, boss, president about their job. “What’s the hardest part of your job, for you?” “What’s the most important thing you are working on, that you want to get done today/this week/this quarter/this year? How can I help you get it done?”

5. Participate in Facebook and Linked In discussion groups related to your field. Find out what the world is doing and share your findings. Keep up with a few publications, electronic or hard copy, and share relevant and interesting information with your workplace.

These are almost always the correct behaviors. Maybe even always. If you do them sincerely, and your workplace/boss/supervisor/president still does not appreciate you, then something is wrong. That company, or organization, or school (or maybe just the boss or supervisor?)  is likely soon, or eventually, to be its/his/her own little Titanic.

Decide if you want to ride it all the way to verticality, or whether you think you can change the culture, or whether you want to get off as soon as you know it is doomed. Do not forget that something is wrong.

If you ride it right into the North Atlantic, you will have nobody to blame but yourself.

Now that I think about it, there really is just one piece of advice here:

Shine, no matter what.

Oh, yeah, and #6: It is no longer anywhere near OK to say “I don’t check email on the weekends.” Not even close.

Job Seeking Strategies Therapists Miss

CareersA lot of job seekers take the obvious (and smart) tack of scouring the newspapers (OK, I get that newspapers don’t really exist anymore—just being metaphorical) for job listings, job openings.

They read the descriptions ,write a relevant cover letter, or fill out the online application, proof the old resume or CV, and hope for a call.

Not a bad strategy. As far as it goes.

But this strategy misses a few things. There’s the agency where they know Jeff is leaving at the end of October to move back to Portland, but they haven’t posted the position yet. There’s the private practice group that is considering adding another principle to the practice, but have not managed to get together to articulate just what skill set would most benefit the organization. There’s the job that Carla is going to vacate the first of the month, but she has been reluctant to break the news to her employers. There’s the guy who knows a guy who knows the woman who is creating another counseling position to help with the growing needs of the members of her ministry.

In other words (note: I am writing this from a balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico at Marco Island), if you think the only fish in the sea is the dolphin that just breached the surface, you’re missing all the rest. Most job openings  aren’t posted at all, or yet.

“So what am I supposed to do?”

Well, it doesn’t hurt to do some research on local agencies and practices, see who they are, try to meet the leaders at local conferences or professional meetings, find out what skill sets they tend to hire, and which ones they might currently lack. Check out their social media presence. If you are a blogger, or a social media savant, you may be able to interest them in the fact that you could make a significant contribution there, as well as in the clinical areas.

Write to them if you are interested, and let them know exactly WHY you are interested and tell them EXACTLY why you are interested in them, how they caught your attention. Let them know you are looking, and ask them to kindly share your resume with anybody else they know who might be looking to hire.

Share your own social media sites and web site with them (unless they suck, but that is a conversation for a different set of blogs I have written). Connect with the individuals on Linked In, and follow the organization, if it has a presence. (If not, suggest they might benefit from one, or from a Pinterest presence, or what have you.)

Right this minute, the Gulf is quiet and amazingly undisturbed on the surface…But I am pretty sure there is a whole world of activity going on just below that surface…

Think I’ll do a little snorkeling…

Jim Nolan

Solving Problems, or Realizing Dreams?

 Offering         Those feel really different, don’t they? 

I wrote the following to a Marketing Guru, Chris Brogan, this morning, in response to his Sunday morning blog. Current marketing gurus tell us to focus NOT on “How great my company is”, or “What a wonderful therapist I am”, or “Have you seen my far-out web site?”, but to focus on “What problem does the client have that I am going to solve?”  Those first three are about me, and the client/customer/buyer could be left wondering “Yeah, I hear YOU are a great wonderment, but I want to hear about ME, and how this is going go help ME…”
Well, it occurred to me that sometimes that might NOT be the tack you want to take. Sometimes rather than focus on what is wrong with your world, I want to focus on what could be wonderful in your world, meaningful in your world. That has a whole different feel, different vibration. Focusing on dreams and solutions, not so much on problems or pain or lack…Whether you are a therapist, or a social media person, or an artist, you can imagine a way to present that is problem or lack based, and you can also imagine how to offer to make the person’s life richer and more fully what they want it to be. Practice that…
Anyway, here it is…
Today at 7:25 AM
I would like to offer a bit of advice back, grateful as I am for all that you offer us. I am the president of a graduate school, and my product costs as much as a great car. (A master’s degree.) While I have read a lot about solving customer problems (Seth Godin, you), and I agree with that approach much of the time, maybe even all of the time (would have to think about that), there are times when offering somebody their dreams, offering them meaning in their work lives, and the like, creates the energetic pull I am looking for, whereas “solving their problem” (which I very well might be) can sound more problem-based rather than bliss-based. I do not want to start with negativity (“your current life and job suck, right?”), but with “Imagine a life in which your destiny and your career path are the same road…”
Just a thought. There is nothing ostensibly “broken” that needs to be fixed (well, sometimes there is, but), but there are dreams to be realized and manifested, and that is what I am “selling”….offering, actually…
Thanks for listening…
Jim Nolan

The New World Order, Especially for Therapists

New World Order          What Therapists Need to Know About the New Order of Things in Ten Bullet Points

  • The world is changing incredibly fast
  • That doesn’t have to be scary, but you DO have to pay attention
  • The economy and Obamacare are going to lead to a new culture of jobs/careers in this country (they already are doing so….)
  • There will be fewer “full time, salaried with benefits” jobs, and more contractor positions because the companies cannot afford to pay health care benefits anymore
  • People (therapists) will have, in effect, several different positions, jobs (some locals here call that “The Santa Fe Shuffle”…) rather than one full time position
  • So, more of us will become, whether we realize it or not, whether we use the word or not, “Entrepreneurs”)
  • Entrepreneurs will need to establish, and promote their professional credentials, skills, brand, identity, and so on. Social Media, collectively, is becoming your new “Resume on Steroids”, to quote Wayne Breitbarth, Linked In guru…
  • You can choose not to participate, but consider that Social Media , believe it or not, is only 5-10 years old, and it already engages roughly 2 billion people in one form or another, and that number is only going up. It is only becoming more critical for professional success
  • The best time to kickstart your professional presence in Social Media was two years ago. The next best time is today
  • I have mixed feelings about sharing all this. The more people who ignore this clarion call, the better my chances of beating them out of that job when we both apply. But in this Aquarian Age, we are cultivating a consciousness of abundances, knowing there is enough for all of us, in this ever-expanding, beautiful old universe…

I wish you well…

Jim Nolan

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