Frances Cole Jones is the author of How to Wow: Proven Strategies for Selling Your (Brilliant) Self in any Situation and The Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World. She also has an app for the iPhone and iPad called “Interview Wow”. Her blog was voted one of the top 100 websites for women by Forbes.com In addition to writing and speaking, Frances is the President of Cole Media Management, a media training company focused on cultivating clients’ inherent strengths to develop more powerful communication skills.
My Highlights | One of the highlights of my life was learning to be a good daughter. After a tempestuous young adulthood, during which I pushed my family away, I take great pride in having repaired and nurtured the relationship I had with my parents in their later years. I often tell people now, “You get plenty of second chances in life, but when your parents are gravely ill and/or dying you only get one chance to get that right. Show up.”
The Difference Between Good And Great | People who are doing what they love are great at what they do—because they are never off duty. If you love your work, there is no 9-5….it consumes you in the best possible way.
A Key Talent | As odd as it sounds, the word “No” motivates me and that has been critical to my success. When I’m told “No” by other people, it kicks me into, “I’ll show you….” When I’m asked, “Are you sure you know what you are doing?” and my answer is “No” it spurs me to figure it out… “No” drives me…..
The Characteristics Of Success | A prompt and continuous use of “Thank you” is critical. Anytime anyone refers a client to me, one of my first questions is, “How did you hear about my work?” That person gets a thank you note regardless of whether the connection pans out. Not only is it polite, but it keeps them motivated to keep referring people to me.
A passion outside my day-to-day work has been critical. I practice Ashtanga yoga 6 days a week—it provides enormous mental and physical strength.
The willingness to back my own talent. This came very late in my life—for years I was happy making others’ dreams come true. But when you do that, who is making yours come true? At some point you have to do for yourself what you are willing to do for others.
Critical Skills I Develop | One skill that I use all the time, and consistently work on improving, is an ability to accurately read others’ body language. There is no faster way to figure out the subtext of what is occurring—and to influence others in your favor.
Lessons I Have Learnt | When I first started my company, one of my biggest clients took me out to breakfast and said, “Here is what nobody tells you: there is plenty of room at the top, so come on up.” That blew my mind. I think about it almost every day.
Dealing With Doubt | I deal with self-doubt, fear, and negativity by talking to people whom I trust to listen, and give me honest feedback. The tricky bit is putting together that group of trusted advisors, as there are a lot of people in the world whom I refer to as “foul weather friends”—they love to swoop in when things aren’t going well and subtly feed your fears and insecurities. The way to tell the difference is to notice who disappears when things are going well for you, and who stays to offer their congratulations—those are the people to go to when things don’t go well.
Performing At My Peak | As trite as it sounds: I eat a boatload of vegetables; I get an enormous amount of sleep; I do a lot of Ashtanga yoga.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | The best advice I ever received was given to me when I started my own business. At that point one of my clients said to me, “When you work for yourself, there is never the ‘right’ amount of work—there is always too much or too little—so you will always be anxious. Given that, you need to change your attitude about feeling anxious from ‘Oh no! I’m anxious!’ to ‘Yay! I’m anxious! It means I’m alive!’
Advice On Building Wealth | Figure out where your strengths lie—and then outsource all other work to others! For example, my computer is often deeply mysterious to me. Given that, it was not a great use of my time to try to build my own website so I got a website designer. I am terrible at math, so why would I try to handle my own bookkeeping? I can’t. Learn to value your time, and use the talents of others, wisely.