I recently received a copy of David V. Lorenzo’s book, Career Intensity . For selecting my article, Decide Who You Want To Be , in his blog carnival, David sent me a signed free copy of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it gave me a few new perspectives on some ideas that had recently came up in the forefront of my mind. Seeing as I am a sucker for free stuff and I found the book helpful I’ve decided to offer my review of the book, as well as my thoughts towards some of the key ideas David presents.
The major point in Career Intensity is simply this, you are responsible for your own career and you alone will determine its outcome. Although David frames the key ideas in the book in terms of forwarding your career or business, the main ideas are essential for anyone who wants to forward their entire life, regardless of economic ambitions. The book then offers many suggestions for how you can better take control over your individual destiny.
This is a lesson that is so often obscured behind complex payment schemes, advertising or monetary systems. The essence of any economic system, and I argue, the drive of any interpersonal action is to create value so it can be exchanged for other value. Many people seem to disdain the idea of becoming wealthy as if it were inherently evil. This argument is based on the scarcity model that says that in order to have anything you must deprive someone else. This concept is fundamentally flawed in that it neglects to mention that in most cases, money is used to exchange value. Most people who have become wealthy have created a lot of value and then exchanged that value for other things.
David brings up a similar point in his book when he says that the cycle of Career Intensity is analysis, value creation and then value demonstration. The basic concept behind this is to first analyze how you can create the most value. This is especially true of your vocation in life. Determining how you can currently create the most value for your business or career positions yourself to make money. I personally believe that this is also true for any aspect of your life. By analyzing your situation and finding a way to maximize the amount of value you can create, either for yourself or others, you can ensure prosperity in far more than monetary terms.
The second step in Career Intensity is value creation. This means actually going out and doing what you had decided would be the best way for you to create value. Once you have decided how your talents, abilities and passions could provide maximal value to others and yourself, go out and pursue that. Usually the method that creates the most value is the area you are most passionate about. Humans feel immensely passionate about something that they can create genuine value in.
The final step is value demonstration. In other words, marketing. You need to demonstrate to other people the value you have created. As David points out, it is important to establish relationships and position yourself in your career so the value you create is recognized. If I were to adjust this perspective to a personal development approach I would offer that it is important that you measure and reflect where you are actually creating value for yourself and others. By positioning yourself so that others can see the value you are created it will become easier to share and create.
Master the Short Interaction
David makes an excellent point about being able to master a short interaction. He brings up his example of the “Starbucks Speech”. The Starbucks Speech is basically the speech you give to someone to establish a relationship in the few minutes while your coffee is being prepared with the other person waiting for their coffee at Starbucks. These speeches are often called elevator speeches because of the short interaction time in an elevator.
Although I had heard this concept before, I appreciated David bringing it up because it pointed out a weakness in my own communication. I have usually emphasized my communication skills on thoroughness and depth. This was a nice reminder that I need to work on my ability to get all the details out in a shorter period of time and to focus on how to make my own communication more information dense and concise.
David’s thoughts on the Starbucks Speech made me think about the difference I often see between people who seem to have a huge number of relationships and those that have a few, but very deep relationships. Being a stubborn believer in the having my cake and eating it too, I have often wondered how it may be possible to form deeper and more meaningful relationships with people even in less time. Clearly time is not the only factor in the depth of a relationship. As David brought up, effective, concise communication can streamline the process of creating a meaningful relationship.
My favorite section in Career Intensity was the section on creating your own personal brand. As I have written before in Decide Who You Want To Be  (which won me the book 😉 ) I am a strong believer that our identity is a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. David develops this idea very fully in his book and adds that this decision is as much about marketing as it is about our own identity. Who we decide to be also is a decision of how we want others to view us.
Although some people may view personal branding as a form of masking your true personality or manipulation, I would disagree. Your personality and character are vast and multidimensional, but most people will only ever see one fragment of it. This is really deciding what fragment you feel represents the best essence of your character and personality. More importantly this decision defines how you intend to interact with the people you meet on a consistent basis.
If you’ve read anything I’ve written so far you are probably aware that I believe that our lives, our personality and who we become as human beings should not be left to fate or circumstance. I believe strongly that we must decide how to shape our life and our character. Working on your own personal brand means identifying who you want to be as a person and then shifting your behavior with others so it will reflect it.
David’s take on personal branding is that we should view ourselves as a business and product. By taking this stance we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. We have to understand that our interactions with other people affect our personal brand. If we snap at people when we are angry or act dishonestly, this will tarnish our brand and reputation. More importantly, this branding decision is a decision about who you are going to market to and who you are going to exclude. Obviously you cannot be everybody to everyone, so in deciding your personal brand you can make decisions about how to distinguish yourself.
I thoroughly enjoyed Career Intensity and it sparked many thoughts on my own personal development. Creating value is the method of successful interpersonal interactions. Mastering quick interactions, focusing on concise and specific communication can provides many thoughts on deepening relationships when time is limited. Through developing your own personal brand you are announcing to the universe who you intend to be and making a statement about your character to those around you. David’s resounding theme of continuous improvement, individual responsibility and skill building are important to all areas of personal development.