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“The ‘big ask’ is what stops a lot of people, but my philosophy is if you don’t ask the answer is always no!”


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Joyce Layman Blackburn simplifies the complex subject of how the mind works, and in Layman’s terms, helps you to think in a completely different way. She shows clients and audiences how to overcome the biggest obstacle they face in life – the four inches between their ears.

With a lighthearted persistence Joyce challenges their belief of what’s possible, and to look at themselves in a different way. Through stories of her own life challenges and successes, she resonates with audiences by connecting her experiences to theirs. She empowers people to push their own comfort zones, shift their mindset, and transforms the way people think about change. The result is that they walk with the knowledge of what to do, why it works in the mind, and the confidence to take action.

Gus: What influenced your decision to create personal brand along with business brand?

Joyce: I started creating my personal brand several years before launching Mind By Design™. It certainly wasn’t an intentional process at the beginning. A mentor of mine actually bought my personal domain and gifted it to me. Needless to say I was surprised. It took me a while to understand the value of what he had done since I was working for a consulting company at the time and didn’t know how to capitalize on it.

Your personal brand is your real estate so to speak, and you want to make sure you control the image associated with your name. One of the stories I share in my RAS, Ask & Act program is about a fellow speaker who happens to have the same name as a porn star. When clients are searching to learn more about her they get more than what they bargained for.

I suggest that everyone get their personal domain along with custom url’s on facebook, twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn etc. to protect their brand no matter what business they are in or what company they are working for. Start with the basics and expand as your business does. Remember everything you post is a direct reflection of who you are and what you stand for.

Getting married a year ago in July gave me additional insight for women who’ve built a personal brand. I am thankful for an understanding husband when it came to deciding on a last name, so I’m now Layman Blackburn. Did you know Google doesn’t recognize hyphens in last names? Since I developed a following using my maiden name, I’m choosing to keep it as my twitter name instead of starting from scratch. That’s something women need to consider when creating their brand.

Gus: What are some ways that our readers can start viewing obstacles as opportunities?

Joyce: According to polls the fear of public speaking consistently falls in the top 10. For me it was #2 on my list. I would literally shake when standing in front of an audience. My biggest obstacle was getting past the fear, and add to that I had absolutely no skill set as a speaker, no clue how to market myself, wasn’t proficient at networking, no speaking brand and the list goes on. I’m sure some would have said to find another career avenue but I kept going. I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable! The biggest factor in overcoming all of the obstacles in my way was my intense desire to become a speaker and the willingness to be coachable and teachable.

Your perspective determines seeing an obstacle or opportunity. Even if you don’t know how to do something you can learn, and you can also have the ability to overcome your greatest fears. Finally, pay attention to what you’re telling yourself about a particular situation because your subconscious is listening.

Gus: Can you elaborate on why visualization is a key factor in life both personally and professionally and how it can be fine-tuned to help achieve success?

Joyce: Great question! Visualization is sometimes called mental imagery or mental rehearsal. Often visualization is associated with something athletes do to take their sports performance to a new level. The Blue Angels are a great example of a team using visualization as a part of their pre-flight brief in an effort to ‘warm up’ their minds.

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus is said to have always played a course in his mind before actually beginning a game. In his own words: “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head. First I see the ball where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes, and I see the ball going there: its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing. Then there is a sort of fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality.”

Combining words (an affirmation), pictures (visualization) and emotions is the most powerful process to use. The best time to use this process is when your brain is in an alpha state and most open to imagination. That happens first thing when you wake up and right before you fall asleep.

You don’t change by watching someone else doing something, you change by visualizing yourself doing it. Consider you may also need to learn new skills or gain knowledge depending on what you’re using visualizing for. Visualization applies to all aspects of your life. It’s not a substitute for taking action but provides a clear picture of your desired outcomes. It has the ability to strengthen your belief of what is possible before you actually experience the reality. Consider using it for your own mental workshop.

Gus: What advice would to give to an organization about to undergo a large change? What are some steps that management can take to ensure that the transition process is as smooth and stress free as possible?

Joyce: An American Management Association study of Fortune 500 companies found that “…less than 50% of changes in their organizations were successful, and that employee resistance was the main reason for failures.”

For the transition process to go smoothly it’s absolutely necessary to engage the hearts and minds of all employees. The following are a few steps to help individuals through change.

1. Consider the positive payoff of making the change.

2. Mentally paint the picture to vision what it will look like during and after the change.

3. Maintain motivation through change by focusing on accomplishments no matter how small.

For an organization there’s so much more than saying “do the three steps above and it will work.” They need to have a clear picture of their existing culture so the correct measures can be taken to ensure success and I dive deeper into those details later in the interview.

Gus: Can you elaborate on using the power of your subconscious mind when cultivating a professional network of contacts?

Joyce: The first step is deciding specifically who you want to meet. Your ‘filter’ is now able to seek out the information because you’re specific about the person and/or company. The next step is look to your circle of influence see who may be able to refer you to that connection. The more specific you are the easier it is for their ‘filter’ to do a search in their mental rolodex to see if they have a connection or know of someone who does. The ‘big ask’ is what stops a lot of people, but my philosophy is if you don’t ask the answer is always no.

Pay attention to your beliefs about networking. If you feel it’s a waste of time then you’ll continue to be frustrated with your results. Consider shifting your mindset, be intentional about who you want to meet and why, really tune in with your filter and ultimately make it about connecting other people. Being a connector is even more valuable than knowing how to network because people know you are a trusted resource and have the ability to expand their circle of influence in unique ways.

Gus: What are some tips for creating a positive company culture with high expectations?

Joyce: Minor changes usually take a small amount of effort, but larger changes require a much greater effort. When working with an organization to change culture, I rely on the expertise of our team at Pacific Accord. Dr. Allen Beck summarized the process well, so I’ll share his insights to answer the question. It’s detailed but well worth reading.

The process of changing organizational culture is similar to turning a battleship. You have to know how to move it, develop its turning momentum, and adopt a patient but very well-targeted set of change-initiatives. General techniques for promoting positive group dynamics, such as team building, typically do not work in penetrating the broad substrata of organizational culture. The better the focus of a cultural change-initiative the more likely that the effort will be effective and the faster the results will be realized. That is not to say that a “30-day wonder program” exists that will create a constructive, highly productive organizational culture overnight. Typically, such change can take 12 to 18 months to gain major momentum. Although, this seems like a protracted effort, in the absence of a well-focused change initiative, culture change usually takes much longer (if it happens at all).

Gus: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

Joyce: Two things are in the works! The first is the Living Proof project with Marti Hill. Just knowing Marti has been a true blessing, and we’re having a lot of fun creating something so powerful.

The second is the launch of my SOAR System™. At conferences I’m often asked “how can I take you home with me” or “my husband needs to know this information” after I speak. Interesting how the answers always show up when you need them! I had done one on one coaching in the past for a few select clients but the requests are becoming more frequent. The problem is attempting to duplicate yourself while still being effective for your clients, and thanks to the wisdom of my coaches I now have the formula to make it happen. As an Expert for www.LifeBusinessGrowth.com I’m in the lineup for their December telesummit and will officially launching SOAR at that time so stay tuned for more information!


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