Displaying All Posts by Jennifer Brown Banks

The Power of No!

“Shout, shout, let it all out. These are the things I can do without!”

— Tears for Fears

Want to improve your productivity? Increase your dignity? Have more “me” time? Enjoy better health?

Allow me to introduce you to a small word that will expand your possibilities and your horizons: NO.
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How to Overcome the Stress of Being an Overachiever

According to Dr. Phil, “we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge first.” With this being the case, I have finally come to terms with a plaguing issue that I’ve denied for many years: My name is Jennifer, and I am an overachiever.

There. I’ve said it. The proof is in the pudding.

Adorning my bedroom walls are dozens of plaques, commendations, and kudos from just about every avenue of my life: from grade school awards, to college scholarships, to writing competitions, to community service.

I say this not to brag, but to make a point. In 2005, in the hit movie “Hustle and Flow,” one of the main characters of the movie laments over how hard it is to be a successful hustler. This “baller” should try being an overachiever! Overachievers may not get the same street cred, or cool theme music, but they work just as hard and live in constant angst in their daily efforts to be the best at what they do.

Achievement becomes an addiction in which the “high” of success is often chased by additional acts of excellence and emotional and physical over investment. And to be quite honest, it can be rather exhausting.

Sure, for those of us who suffer this malady, we can say that it makes our moms proud, earns us a few bragging rights, and reasons to reward ourselves with chocolate and periodic shopping sprees, but somehow, somewhere, we have to draw the line.

For example, I was competing with a little girl at a close friend’s daughter’s birthday party, in a jump rope competition, and let’s just say that this kid proved to be a poor loser. But I was determined to outdo her.

Could you be an overachiever just like me?
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11 Savvy Social Media Strategies

Have you seen the mega-hit movie The Social Network, (loosely) based upon Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg? This film is a very vivid reminder of where this phenomenon has taken us in just a few years — and its far reaching impact. There’s no doubt about it: social media has revolutionized the way we work and play. It has enhanced our communications, improved our businesses, allowed us to “win friends and influence people” more easily and expanded our visibility exponentially. I mean, what’s not to love about it?

But before you bask in that warm, fuzzy feeling that social media seems to offer, you might want to take note of a few drawbacks as well.  Just like money, the love of it can be either good or evil, depending upon how it is used. For example, folks who are enamored with it and see it as a way to exercise freedom of speech — by spouting off about their “idiot” employers, their “Animal House” partying behavior, illegal acts, and other escapades, have lost jobs, faced criminal prosecution, and have ultimately realized that “all that glitters is not gold”. Remember these social media missteps?

  • The woman who shoplifted and posted pictures to Facebook of the stolen goods?
  • The teacher who was “schooled” the hard way when he vented about the “ghetto parents” of some of his students through his blog?
  • The flight attendant who got her wings clipped when she discussed some of the downsides of her job?
  • The politician who wasn’t prudent when he “bared all” online.

Be forewarned: if not approached wisely, the next casualty could be you. With this in mind, here are a few ways to increase your social media savvy, be more productive, and face fewer professional and personal repercussions as a result of a social media misstep.
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Get a Life! 7 Ways to Have a Social Life When Home is Your Office

There’s no doubt about it. Working from home can be a pretty sweet setup, with an array of privileges and perks.  So sweet, in fact, that it would take an act of God or near-death emergency to claw some of us from our comfy confines and our daily “uniform” of bunny slippers and lounging pajamas. True?

Still, getting out is good for us — like eating vegetables. Though many of us might argue that we do “socialize” via daily Twitter updates, Facebook entries and other online outlets, it’s not the same.

Occasional face to face activities help to preserve our social skills, enhance our conversational skills, gain support, relieve stress, improve the creative process, and maintain optimal fitness.

Here’s how some of these factors factor into the “quality of life” equation:


No matter how much your family or partner listens to your work-related woes and issues with clients, or how much they serve as your official cheer leading squad, no one quite “gets it” like a fellow entrepreneur, writer, or work at home mom. Connect with these like-minded individuals whether it’s at your local coffeehouse, neighborhood park, or bookstore. These in person gatherings can help give you insight into your problems, laughter when it’s needed, and moral support on a different level. Embrace it.
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What Relationships Can Teach Us About the World of Work

It’s been said that those who fail to learn from the past are destined to repeat it. For some of us that means a paradigm shift for 2011.

If you’re seeking ways to work smarter, enhance your work experience, increase your value to your organization, and move forward in your career, you need look no further than lessons on love.

That’s right. Relationships (past and present) can be a gold mine when it comes to providing wisdom in the world of work, as there are many parallels and similar standard operating procedures. Based upon what I’ve observed and experienced, here are some of the most important ones. So just in case you didn’t get the memo, take notes.
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5 Keys to Good Customer Service

It was a Saturday morning full of promise. Seductive even. I woke up with creative projects I was geeked to get into, and my muse was more active than usual. On my today’s “to-do” list, were a few new freelance writing leads, an online blogging class, and my general weekend recreational reading.

I turned on my computer first to catch up on my email. Nothing pressing on that end, so I clicked on to a site to do some exploring.  Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere it happened.

I got this big red neon sign that popped on my screen alerting me to a virus attack.
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4 Ways to be Powerful Without Alienating Others

“Power corrupts.” — Lord Acton

Let’s face it: power can be intoxicating. It often commands respect, envy and fear.  It can even add “height” to an otherwise small personality. Women love it; men crave it. And like money, very few individuals know how to handle it well.

That’s why so many bosses and “shot callers,” despite their lofty titles and take home pay, find their roles to be somewhat ineffective. And probably why there’s a grain of truth to the expression, “it’s lonely at the top.”
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Survival Tips for Accidental Entrepreneurs

Remember about a decade ago, when the popular reality television show called “Worse Case Scenario” hit the scene? For those of you who may not be “in the know” on this one, here’s a recap:

In essence, this weekly, nail-biting show used skilled stuntmen to provide demonstrations of how we (as viewers) could escape, survive, outsmart, and strategize through potential dangers and unthinkable disasters — and land on our feet during life’s emergencies and challenges. The show evolved from a popular book series bearing the same name, published in the late 1990’s. Click Here to Read Article …