Life is difficult. 2016 was a tough year for many people. I interview people all day, 5 days per week. I’m fairly empathetic, able to pick up on subtle clues (and not so subtle complaining), and would say about 85% of the people that I speak with on a daily basis are frustrated in some manner with their employment. They might be underemployed, aggravated with their boss, feel marginalized at work, fearful of being laid off, or any manner of other workplace challenges. The majority of the people I speak with have a poor mindset. Here is the remainder of the “Life is difficult” quote by M. Scott Peck:


“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”


How can you apply this wisdom to your career? First, you are not your job. Your work can bring great meaning, but your employment is a small fraction of your true self and should never determine your happiness. Second, your job isn’t supposed to always be easy. Your boss isn’t in charge of your happiness. Know this as truth, accept it, and transcend via your thought life. Change your mindset. Change your story. Change your life.

Posted: 12/28/2016 2:08:12 PM by Mark Butler | with 0 comments

I'm asked daily for advice on how to find a new job. It's hard to search for the "perfect job" with so many competing priorities. There are only so many hours in a day and days in a week. Where is your time best spent in searching for a new position?

Personal connections

As a first step, make a list of your personal connections that might be able to help you find and evaluate new positions. Think of people that might be well-connected in industries and companies that you might be targeting. It helps if these people believe in your capabilities and will vouch for you, especially if you're looking for a big promotion or want to move into a different type of position. Spend time with these people, either via phone or in-person. State your case. Ask them to make introductions or keep an ear to the ground for you.

Business connectors

As a second step, reach out to the people that are extremely well-connected in your network. These are the individuals that are out shaking the hands and kissing the babies, all day, every day. Recruiters, executive business development leaders, and agency owners are all good targets. Send these people a copy of your resume along with a brief description of what you're seeking in a new position. Ask them to keep an eye out for you or make introductions on your behalf.

Targeted search

Finally, get very intentional on the ideal position and company for the next step in your career. Make a list of 25 potential companies to pursue. Strategically research and and approach decision makers. LinkedIn is a great tool for both evaluating and connecting with potential opportunities. Don't be afraid to reach out directly with a well-crafted invitation to connect.

Searching for a new job can be overwhelming. Great jobs are very competitive. If you are serious about finding another job, you need to hit the ground running. Work your personal connections, engage with business connectors, and get intentional about defining and pursing your ideal opportunity. Time is a precious commodity. As you launch your job search, don’t underestimate the value of your time.

Posted: 8/11/2015 9:04:07 AM by Mark Butler | with 0 comments

A great mentor of mine once said to me, “It is always a mistake to decide what you want to do before you have determined who you want to be.” Eventually, who you are will impact what you do. Similarly, you may have desire and talent that will lead you to success; however, great success demands great character. Who you are, not what you do impacts relational and personal satisfaction when looking back at a life well-lived.

"Be Words"

When I went through Radical Mentoring in 2010, we developed a list of “Be Words.” This exercise was based on Andy Stanley’s message, “A New You Resolution.” At the beginning of each year, most of us wrote down a list of goals and things that we want to do. “Be Words” focuses on creating a list of words highlighting the person we want to be, helping create a perimeter around behavior and a model for making decisions. For this exercise, we went very deep and wrote down the ramifications, the results that will play out in our life if we truly became these words, and the consequences that might occur if we don’t. All that being said, here is my list of “Be Words.”

  • Loving
  • Serving
  • Encouraging
  • Approachable
  • Forgiving
  • Peaceful
  • Honest


In a different message, Andy Stanley incorporated the “Be Words” into an exercise in ghost writing your own obituary. He describes a process where he wrote an obituary for himself, including quotes from his wife, kids, associates, and friends. He asked himself, “What would I like people to say about me at my funeral?” Working from those quotes, he figured out what kind of person he’d have to be in order to have people say those great things. What “Be Words” would you want your family and friends to say about you at your funeral?


I whole-heartedly agree with my mentor’s advice to focus one’s energy on becoming who you want to be, rather than focusing on what you want to accomplish. I challenge you to focus your time and energy on this, as well. Developing your character and “Be Words” will only help you become the best version of yourself and serve as a catalyst to get you to where you want to go. When you set your monthly, quarterly, or yearly goals, consider who you want to become. What “Be Words” do you want your colleagues, family and friends to remember you for?

Posted: 4/16/2015 10:29:47 AM by Mark Butler | with 0 comments

Research shows that companies can lose as many as 15 percent of new hires in the period between offer acceptance and start date. Want to make sure that your new hire smoothly transitions from offer acceptance to start date? Here are a few best practices to consider.

  • To start, follow best practices for extending an offer. The goal is "multiple yeses." We want the candidate to accept an offer verbally and then via email prior to signing off on a formal offer letter. This process generates huge buy-in.
  • Make sure there is a direct line of communication between the hiring manager and the candidate. The relationship needs to focus on honest, open communication during the final steps of the offer process. This leads to a solid relational basis for any questions or concerns prior to the start date
  • Watch very closely for any red flags. Here are a few:
    • The candidate continues to bring up a lot of additional questions about the offer.
    • The candidate is not returning phone calls or emails for an extended period of time.
    • The candidate unexpectedly asks for an extended start date.
    • The candidate is not complying with requests for information or documentation.
  • If there are any red flags or you feel as though a candidate may be gearing up to decline an opportunity, even after the offer has been signed, be proactive and aim for transparency. If there is any hesitation, gently and immediately confront the candidate and inform him/her the hiring hiring manager is available to personally address any questions or issues.
  • Find out exactly when the candidate is "giving notice" to his current employer. Be sure to be in contact with the candidate via phone (preferably) or via email the day before or on the day of resignation. Here is a blog you can provide to the candidate with tips for resigning gracefully:
  • If there is an opportunity, help prepare the candidate for the possibility of a counter-offer. Here is a blog you can provide to the candidate that details reasons why accepting a counter-offer is not always the best idea:
  • Schedule multiple meetings or discussions between the offer acceptance and the start date. Grab lunch or coffee. Have a different team member take the new hire to lunch. Invite him/her to a happy hour. Make sure there are multiple in-person touch points during this critical period.
  • Give the new hire some homework. Have him/her review the marketing plan or organizational chart. Even consider having him/her put together a 90 day success plan. The goal is continued buy-in, not generating unbillable work.

As a hiring manager, finding the perfect candidate is tough enough, which is why once an offer has been made and accepted, it’s all the more important to ensure that the onboarding process is seamless. Follow the steps above as best practices for a smooth transition from offer acceptance to start date.

Posted: 8/18/2014 4:55:39 PM by Mark Butler | with 0 comments

"A little integrity is better than any career." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Are you a person of your word and of upstanding character? So you've accepted a new position and given your word that you're joining a new company - now it's time for the resignation conversation. Resigning is no fun - the conversation typically goes in 1 of 3 ways:
  1. They congratulate you and wish you the best of luck {potentially}
  2. They get mad and walk you out of the office {potentially}
  3. They ask you to "think about it" and start putting together a counter-offer {potentially}
For this discussion, we're going to focus on option #3, the counter-offer. Guilty, doubtful, fear of change – these are probably some of the emotions you will feel during your resignation. Resigning isn’t meant to be easy, but what we must remember two main things:
  1. You're only as good as your word
  2. Counter-offers are almost always counter-productive to your career
Upon accepting a counter offer, the power shifts in multiple ways. First, the company is now in control of the timetable of your transition. Versus a standard two week notice, your boss can now take his time in finding your replacement. Second, you're now known as someone that is not "on the bus." You've been out schmoozing with other companies while everyone else is working hard. Third, you're very likely no longer considered for future promotions. Who wants to build a team around someone that will jump at the first opportunity? Here are 3 more key reasons not to accept a counter-offer:
  1. Why did your company wait for you to resign to say these things or promise these changes? Have they not always valued you to give you what you deserve?
  2. No matter how you behave in the future, you'll always be regarded with suspicion. You've already shown that you're ready to leave, so management will be waiting for you to do it again.
  3. A counter-offer is almost always about money. The reasons people leave are almost never about money alone. 60 hour work week? Don't respect your boss? That doesn't change with more money.
In conclusion, if you are faced with a counter-offer, always go back and remind yourself of the reasons why you wanted to leave in the first place. Ask yourself if this counter offer will satisfy those needs. Ask yourself why your company is only offering these things now. In the end, ask yourself, "Am I a person of my word and integrity?"

Posted: 3/8/2013 2:25:17 PM by Mark Butler | with 0 comments

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