Success Matters – “Compelling Contributions...The Secret to Being Famous” - #9 April 2008

Success Associates

Redefining success with mid-career professionals to create more focus - vitality - passion in their work!

Success Associates provides proven success strategies to help you discover your unique genius and brand your career to know what you stand for and engage in more meaningful work.

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Spring Is Here!


  • Have you noticed a lighter and brighter energy in people around you with the change in weather?
  • When the weather is warmer, do you feel less encumbered and more interested and open to reaching out to others?

If you answered yes to these questions, it’s with good reason! Weather plays an influential role in our sociability and in how we perceive ourselves. When the meteorologists continuously bombard us with forecasts of impending sleet and freezing rain, we often experience a natural hesitancy about venturing out of our homes. On the flipside, when we experience increased daylight, we are more positive and gregarious.

So, with an increase in positive energy and renewed interest in socializing, this is a perfect season to get out and net-weave!

Remember net-weaving? In the November edition of Success Matters, I suggested that you apply the concept of net-weaving during the holiday season and make new connections.

So, tell me the truth, %$firstname$% . . . Did you follow through on the Field Work that I suggested? Did you send holiday greeting cards to people that you’ve met this past year or invite (just 1) NEW person for coffee or lunch?

If you didn’t get out and net-weave, the Coaching Exercises in this edition may be just what you need to develop more self-confidence and sociability, the qualities of a strategic connector who makes connections through reciprocal relationships!

So what’s the value of net-weaving? It’s one of the secrets to discovering the hidden internal and external job market!

Building reciprocal and mutually supportive relationships results in a high return investment that keeps on giving! So net-weaving allows you to ‘dig the well before you need the water!’

Unfortunately, many people wait until there is an immediate need or an impending organization change before building relationships. Then, it’s about their agenda rather than about how they can be of service to others.

What’s the lesson? Get out and net-weave as part of your lifestyle. Establish and nurture a community of people who know you, like you, trust you—and who know what you do well! They will be willing, even eager, to refer opportunities to you.

This month’s Success Matters is Part 4 of a four part series of articles about net-weaving and being a strategic connector. In this edition, you’ll learn about building compelling, contribution statements that reflect your ‘‘unique value proposition", based on your ‘unique genius’. Use my recommended Coaching Exercises to give you a jump-start in creating a brand-driven resume!

Part 1: July 2007 - What Do You Stand For? The focus was on ‘focus – clarity and passion’ as they relate to your ‘unique genius’ leaving you with the lesson to “get 'focus, clarity and passion' about what you stand for, and define your ‘unique genius’, so you play to your strengths”.

Part 2: September 2007 - Six Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon . . . FACT or MYTH? The concepts of net-weaving and strategic connectors were introduced, reinforcing the fact that being a strategic connector increases your luck factor. I also described the qualities that almost anyone can develop … “authentic curiosity about other people, self-confidence, sociability, and positive energy”.

Part 3: November 2007 - 5 Easy Steps to Master the Art of Net-Weaving: Create Powerful First Impressions & Long-Lasting Relationships. Before enthusiastically sharing your compelling introductory message, first YOU need to feel the enthusiasm!

Why do most people refrain from sharing an introductory message? They often experience awkwardness about articulating their passion in a clear, concise, and conversational manner. As a result, their accomplishments are expressed as tasks or responsibilities and they underplay their role in achieving the successful outcomes! We may feel passion, give 150% effort on the job, but don’t want to be perceived as self-promoters.

True to my promise in November, this edition’s coaching exercises take the 5 Steps to Master the Art of Net-Weaving to another level. Use these exercises, and make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of undervaluing and underexpressing your achievements!

I’ve also included a formula to create your ‘unique contribution statements’ that propel conversations forward and build reciprocal relationships that provide value to both people! This is the ‘inside out’ approach to being ‘famous’.

So, get out there and net-weave your way to becoming known for WHO you are and WHAT you do well!

Enjoy a perfect day, %$firstname$%!



“Genius is there in all of us,
just waiting for us to tap into it.” ~ Robert R. Toth


Compelling Contributions . . .
The Secret to Being ‘Famous’

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of

If I asked you the question, “What you are famous for?” how would you respond? Most people don’t think of themselves as ‘famous’. They often describe themselves by their job title, their most recent accomplishment or possibly how someone else describes them.

Actually, we are all famous according to the definition in Webster’s dictionary – “widely known; honored for achievement”. We are building our reputation in everything that we do whether it is intentional or accidental.

Wouldn’t you prefer that it be intentional about how you WANT to be famous?

Setting an intentional approach to being ‘widely known’ is based on three simple secrets that I’ve outlined below. They help you to be widely known for WHO you are and WHAT you do. In addition, the Coaching Exercises will help you to get into ACTION with your intentional approach!

WARNING: If you don’t want to be known and recognized for your authenticity and high value contributions, stop reading NOW! The three secrets and Coaching Exercises could raise your awareness of your greatness.

Secret #1: Your personal qualities reflect how you are ‘famous’ and what compels people to be in conversation with you!

One of the questions that helps you to identify how you are ‘famous’ is “What have I done that . . .”

  • Is remarkable, measurable, distinguished?
  • Provides distinctive value?

Now, I’m not talking about you taking on the challenge of running for President of the United States. ‘Being famous’ is about something as significant as delivering exceptional e-mail and voicemail responses or always delivering on a commitment as promised.

Personal Qualities that describe these behaviors include accountability (I keep my word 99% of the time.) and excellence (I only buy and deliver quality.) Be conscious of the qualities that you positively display in all areas of your life! You’ll feel more centered and show up more authentically . . . and people will notice!

WARNING: They also notice when you don’t keep your word and deliver lesser quality outputs. ‘You are what you do!’

Coaching Exercise: To discover how your friends and colleagues perceive you, ask ten of them to tell you three qualities that they feel set you apart! Categorize these 30 qualities into five related clusters to identify the themes and patterns. This will give you some clues about how others may perceive you, as well.

Secret #2: Everything that you need is within you.

Your compelling contribution statements are statements that explain what you are already famous for accomplishing. Creating these statements is where many people get stuck! They’re not sure how to get started, and may feel that the task is overwhelming. To get you started, I’ve outlined a few easy steps.

Coaching Exercise: Here is a simple first step to develop your compelling, contribution statements. Note: This pertains to how you are famous in your existing career. The approach would be a bit different if you were changing careers.

  • Make a list of all of your professional accomplishments.
  • Create three columns next to your list of accomplishments, and title the columns High, Medium, and Low.
    1. High represents what you enjoy doing, do well, and excel at. These are accomplishments that you feel a sense of satisfaction at doing and pride in completing.
    2. Medium represents what you do well, but it’s a bit of an energy drain.
    3. Low represents what you don’t enjoy, don’t do well, and it is a significant energy drain.
  • From your list of accomplishments, delete all those from your list except the ones that you rated High! This is the hard work… it’s like clearing the clutter from your closet when you’re not sure what to keep and what to discard. Sometimes, you end up keeping all the clutter because you can’t decide. Don’t let this happen! The key is to be decisive and focused.

This Coaching Exercise will help you to decide!

Secret #3: Acknowledge the greatness that everyone already observes in you.

Your compelling contribution statements reflect what you have already done at your highest level of accomplishment! So, this supports Secret #2 …

To help you envision this concept, I’ve included two examples of a task-focused statement vs. a compelling contribution statement from actual client situations.


  • Ran in the New York City marathon.
  • Ran in the New York City Marathon: finished in top 20% after training consistently for nine months that involved running 30 miles a week.
Task Focus:
  • Led development of < > technique, allowing the product offering to be scaled down or expanded for competitive bids and facilitated the selling of add-on modules to existing clients.
  • Led cross-departmental development of < > technique, allowing the product offering to be scaled down or expanded for competitive bids that opened new markets and generated <$ > of new recurring revenue over 10-year cycle.

Do you see how the contribution statement speaks to the person’s highest level of accomplishment and tells you so much more about their contribution than the task-focused statement?

In the second client example, what does this compelling contribution statement demonstrate?

  1. Problems that the person solved: product offering needed to be scaled down or expanded; product needed to be modified for competitive bid

  2. Actions that the person took: led and collaborated with other departments on development of an innovative strategy; leveraged decision-making authority to redesign product and open new markets

  3. Skills that the person used: leadership; product development / marketing; marketing savvy; business development

  4. Solutions that resulted or clear work results: opened new markets; generated recurring revenue over 10-year cycle

  5. Value to the company: increased profits; opened up new markets; leadership of a high performance team with significant and innovative results

What are the benefits to you in taking this intentional, ‘inside-out’ approach to being ‘famous’?

  • Increased awareness of your unique promise of value . . . results and contributions that people can expect from you
  • Conveys a feeling of authenticity and integrity that is linked to credibility and accountability
  • Gain recognition about what you do
  • Develop ability to differentiate yourself from others
  • Receive invitation to high visibility, highly sought after projects
  • Position yourself for lifetime ‘employability’

Coaching Exercise: Create your compelling contribution statements for all the accomplishments that you rate High on your list. Then, develop statements that demonstrate the value that you contributed to the company. I’ve provided a Worksheet that walks you through the exercise for one accomplishment and can be duplicated for other!

Access the worksheet at:

Before you even get started, recruit a Success Partner to help you discover your ‘unique genius’™ . . .and how you are ‘famous’.

So, if you’re thinking, “What is a Success Partner”? This is your partner who holds you accountable for taking the steps to identifying your ‘unique genius’ and helps you make your new found ‘fame’ stick!

Your Success Partner acknowledges your contribution, encourages you to brag about your accomplishments and become more actively articulate about them. Your Success Partner also participates with you in a practice conversation in which you engage in a compelling conversation. . . Doesn’t this sound like the perfect coaching partner for you?

If you need help in bringing out your best or the assistance of a career strategist – contact me! – 610-429-0359.

Have fun and be ‘famous!

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Coaching Exercise: Worksheet
Compelling Contribution Statements

To view this Coaching Exercise worksheet in full, click here.

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Book References

‘Now Discover Your Strengths’ by Marcus Buckingham, Donald O. Clifton, Donald O. Clifton Simon & Schuster January 2001

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Speaking News

“Building Your Personal Brand . . . Authentically Reflect Your ‘Unique Genius’ and Stand Out in Any Crowd” presented by Gerrie Dresser, Career Strategist

Over 150 people attended the speaking event on February 26, 2008 that was sponsored by Healthcare Business Women’s Association of Greater Philadelphia, PA.

What the audience said . . .
“I LOVED your presentation about discovering your ‘unique genius’ and building your own brand. That's the core of life - doing what you're supposed to be doing. And you are doing an excellent job being such an inspirational presence in the world!

Kelley Faust, President and Chief Hope Officer of Sunshine Hope (

  • Would you like to inspire your organization and raise their awareness about their ‘unique genius’? Contact Gerrie about sharing this message with your organization!
  • Phone: (610) 429-0359

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    ‘Unique Genius’™ Coaching

    Coaching is a confidential partnership between you, the Client, and your Coach to help you achieve your next level of success faster and with greater focus and clarity.

    Do you want to discover your ‘unique genius’™, define what you stand for, and embrace more meaning and fulfillment in your work?

    If you are serious about stepping into an inspired vision for your life and playing a bigger game, ‘unique genius’ coaching will provide the focus, accountability and ‘inside-out’ growth that is the foundation for personal change to happen and stick.

    Contact Gerrie for your 30 minute exploratory consultation at

    Gerrie Dresser is an ICF credentialed Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and practical, innovative career strategist and thought leader.

    For more information about Gerrie, click on
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    copyright 2005 - 2008 Success Associates, Gerrie Dresser. All Rights Reserved.

    Permission is granted to reproduce, copy, or distribute Success Matters as long as nothing is added, changed, or deleted, and this copyright notice is attached.

    • Author is Gerrie Dresser, President of Success Associates Coaching & Consulting.
    • Editor is Michelle Cranmer, President of Cranmer Consulting

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