By Dr. Barbara O’NeillWhat is Military Stop Loss Pay?Military Stop Loss occurs when a service member’s enlistment is involuntarily extended. As a result, additional pay may be provided to service members in this situation.The deadline for filing a Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) claim for stop loss between September 11, 2001 and September 30, 2009 was October 21, 2012. RSLSP pay is $500 for each month/partial month served in stop loss status and the average benefit is $3,700.Eligibility, filing, and payment information for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay is available online at http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/0710_stoploss/. Browse more military personal finance blog posts and webinars by experts.Follow Dr. O’Neill on Twitter!This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network Blog on April 29, 2013.
DVDs, magazines, free educational programs, and Internet terminals are available at public libraries Free or low cost mammograms, PSA tests, and other diagnostic screening tests are available at no or low cost through organizations such as county health departments, walk-in clinics, and other community organizations Service clubs, such as Soroptimist and Rotary, that provide scholarships to eligible students Discounts for service members and veterans at restaurants, county fairs, theme parks, retailers, and more; a military ID may be required to take advantage of these discountsFor information about military family benefits that can help make ends meet, see http://militarybenefits.info/military-benefits-for-family-members/ and http://www.military.com/NewContent/1,13190,Spouse,00.html VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) offered at various locations in partnership with community sponsors and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), if qualified by income and family size Free outdoor concerts and movies sponsored by municipalities, businesses, colleges, and other entities By Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, email@example.comOne of the common financial concerns of military families is making ends meet. Each year, I conduct seminars about household cash flow and how to develop a successful spending plan (budget). A spending plan is a plan for spending and saving money and includes two components: income and expenses. Good spending plans use realistic expense figures that are obtained by tracking expenses for a month or two to make sure that every dollar spent is accounted for.Cash flow is the relationship between household income and expenses. Earn more than you spend and you’ve got positive cash flow. Do the exact opposite and your cash flow will be negative. To succeed financially, positive cash flow is required. At any income level, if you spend more than you earn, you will go broke.Developing a spending plan (budget) is a lot like practicing weight control by watching what you eat (diet). In each case, there are three things that someone can do to improve. In the case of dieting, one can eat less, exercise more, or do a little of both. In the case of budgeting, one can increase income, reduce debt, or do a little of both. Rutgers Cooperative Extension has a helpful Spending Plan Worksheet.There are a variety of ways to increase income including: working overtime, working a second job, requesting money loaned to others, charging adult children room and board, having a garage sale, and adjusting tax withholding. Another way to increase income is to take advantage of free or low-cost services provided by government agencies, non-profit human service providers, and local service organizations. Benefits and services received are considered “in kind” income because you would otherwise have to pay for them out of pocket.Some public benefits have age and/or income restrictions while others are not restricted. Below is a list of some common public benefits that military families can take advantage of:Rabies clinics sponsored by municipalities that provide free pet shots that might otherwise cost $50 or more
On Solid Ground: Exploring Strategies to Help Clients Create and Maintain Healthy RelationshipsDate: March 30, 2017Time: 11:00am-12:30pm ETLocation: On Solid Ground: Exploring Strategies to Help Clients Create and Maintain Healthy RelationshipsPixabay[ Balance by KarelZe, August 14, 2013, CCO]As a society, we often get caught up in the “do not’s” rather than the “do’s” when it comes to education on anything to do with safety and health. But, what if we make a switch towards empowerment and the things that we can do to remain healthy and safe? Dr. Alaina Szlachta, Director of Training for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, will guide us in an interactive and meaningful webinar on ways we can work with our clients on establishing and maintaining healthy relationships. Join us as we discuss healthy relationships from an empowerment based perspective.We offer 1.5 National Association of Social Worker CE credits and CE credits for licensed Marriage and Family Therapists in the state of Georgia for each of our webinars, click here to learn more. For more information on future presentations in the 2017 Family Development webinar series, please visit our professional development website or connect with us via social media for announcements: (Facebook & Twitter)
By Carol ChurchAs every member of the military knows, being deployed can be stressful, intense, and difficult. However, it also comes with one advantage: increased pay. In some cases, service members may also experience a significant decrease in living expenses.Extra money from deployment can get service members out of debt, dramatically bump up savings, and create financial security where there was none. However, handled imprudently, extra earnings from deployment can also set up a financial house of cards or disappear into unwise purchases. Here are some tips to help service members max out the financial advantages of deployment while also staying financially on track.First, decrease expenses as much as possible:–Cancel, suspend, or reduce car insurance on any vehicles (including motorcycles) that will not be used during a deployment. You will need to consider storage options; if the car will be exposed to the elements, there are special policies you can switch to that cover weather damage only (available through USAA).— Cancel or suspend cell phone service, cable TV, and home phone (if applicable). Under the terms of the SCRA, service members who are deploying must be given a penalty-free exit from contracts like these. Of course, if you have a family at home using these, this may not apply!–Reduce the interest on your mortgage and any outstanding credit card loans to 6% under the SCRA. Typically, the credit card debt must have been incurred or the mortgage initiated before entering service for this to work. Also, be aware that this does not happen automatically-you must file paperwork. To learn more, visit SCRA Questions and Answers.Photospin/lev dolgachovSecond, put that money away:–Save in SDPOne of the most amazing benefits available to deployed service members is the Savings Deposit Program. Service members deployed to eligible designated combat zones can put up to $10,000 per deployment in this account, tax-free, and it will earn 10% interest annually as long as you are in the combat zone. Funds will be returned to the service member after he or she returns (or before in cases of emergency). This is an incredible rate of return that no one should pass by.–Save in the TSP or Roth IRAWhen the new blended retirement system comes online, many service members will already be automatically contributing to and getting matched funds for TSP. However, it will still be possible for most to increase the percentage they contribute during this time period. Be aware that there is an annual limit for both TSP and Roth IRAs.Third, don’t overspend:A common but very dangerous error is to readjust the family discretionary spending upwards around the temporary additional pay, or to do something like building an addition, buying a brand-new truck, etc. The USAA recommends that service members put away a full two-thirds of their additional deployment pay, and strongly cautions service members against incorporating past earned deployment pay into new budgets when they return.Deployment can be a difficult time for service members and their families, but it does come with the benefit of increased income. With care and forethought, service members should be able to make progress towards their financial goals during this time.
Following Director’s CommentaryThanks to the wonders of the internet, you can also listen to director Christopher Nolan discuss the making of the film for a full 70 minutes, as appears on the DVD commentary.Inside Memento and other filmsIf you ever tried to sit down and work out just what was happening inside Memento, Nolan’s second feature film and one nominated for best screenwriting and editing Academy Awards, then this 18 minute masterclass in story analysis and film structure from Nolan himself should help explain it. Sort of.Lastly The Verge has a great little interview with Nolan that charts a few highlights from his early career with some interesting revelations about his filmmaking process.Cutting Inception with Lee [Smith], my editor, I remember we got to reel three and watched it. It was completely incomprehensible. And it took several weeks of sleepless nights of really trying to figure it out. Weirdly though, when I look back at the script compared with the way that section of the film turned out, it’s not that different. But it can be very hard to find those things. One of the reasons I don’t watch the assembly as a lot of filmmakers do, is it’s four hours long and it’s a terrible film. So I just don’t want to start from that place. I’d rather start from the place of its sense of possibility, which is what you have in the dailies. Learn more about the art and craft of filmmaking from Interstellar director, Christopher Nolan.The soon to be released Interstellar is director Christopher Nolan’s ninth feature film but there is still plenty to learn from his earliest work including his first feature film, Following.Filmmaking Tips from Nolan’s First Feature“Following represents the peak of what I was able to do on my own, just with friends and borrowed resources.” -Christopher NolanIn this fantastic 26 minute interview you can hear directly from director Christopher Nolan as he shares his filmmaking insights and process involved in making his first feature film. Off the back of the festival circuit success of Following, Nolan was able to make Memento, which became his ‘breakout’ film and his first steps into Hollywood stardom.In this post-screening interview from the 1999 Slamdance film festival you can pick up plenty of great filmmaking tips. If you’re really paying attention you can pick up 34 great filmmaking lessons, or, you can check out this excellent article from Natalie of Mentorless.com in which she lists the 34 filmmaking lessons she took away from the interview.Creating on a no-budgetNolan explained that Following was shot at a time where a ‘healthy competition’ was going on between filmmakers who were all trying to make the cheapest movie possible.The $6,000 were spent buying film stock and processing it.Actors and crew were bringing their own lunchThe reason Nolan shot over a year was because of the lack of money and everybody was working.Nolan figured out he could shoot for 2 and 1/2 to 1 ratio, which is almost the same ratio that Shane Carruth for his first feature, Primer. What that means is that he would get one minute of usable footage for every two and half minutes of film shot. The Ratio on a standard film is 15 to 1.The entire film is made out of 1 takes and sometimes 2 takes.The film was rehearsed for about 6 months, just as if they were doing a play. Actors knew the whole film in advance. Each Saturday, depending on the location secured, Nolan would tell them: ‘We are doing X scene’, and they were prepared to make it happened in one take.
DownloadHead on over to Shutterstock to download the free Video Editor Toolkit.TutorialWant to learn how to use all these free elements? Check out this tutorial to see how easy it is to use the transitions, animations, and overlays. Overlays and ElementsLight LeaksDustVolumetric LightSparks Lookup Tables.cube LUTs By downloading the free Video Editor Toolkit from Shutterstock, you can customize your film or video projects in a flash.Whether you’re a motion designer, video editor, or a combination of the two, this Video Editor Toolkit will help you stylize your projects in an instant.These drag-and-drop assets, LUTs, and tools will help you speed up your entire workflow. Just check out this trailer (which uses many of the assets).Compatible with nearly every major NLE and compositing program, these free assets work in Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, After Effects, Avid, DaVinci Resolve, and more!Here’s what’s included:Animations and TransitionsIcons and SymbolsShapesCircle Transitions
What’s the difference between lossy and lossless compression? What about uncompressed? Learn the differences between each in this filmmaking guide.Data compression is an unseen force of tremendous power in the modern world. Without the myriad innovations in the field of compression, there is a good chance that our modern computer age would have never taken off.All types of data are compressible: audio, video, text files, pictures — you name it. Compression essentially takes an input data set and encodes it using fewer bits than the original file would have taken up on its own. This information must then be decoded before you can interact with it again. This encode/decode process vastly reduces the computational resources necessary to view and manipulate the data, thereby reducing the computational and bandwidth requirements at each stage after the encode.So, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at the alternative to data compression.UncompressedImage via FlashMovie.Uncompressed data is stored exactly as it was recorded or input. Because of this bit-for-bit duplication, uncompressed data offers maximum data fidelity at the cost of maximum storage and bandwidth requirements.Uncompressed data is a remnant of the early days of computing — even the most complex data sets used to be orders of magnitude smaller due to technological limitations.How does it work?Uncompressed data doesn’t usually implement special encoding techniques. Rather, each bit gets stored exactly as it comes from the input source. This reduces computational requirements for the input/capture device by offloading the complex task of playback or access to the end user’s device.Uncompressed data is good for archival purposes because it doesn’t throw any information away, but the costs of storage will add up quickly.So what can compression offer instead?CodecsImage via majcot.LossyThe early ’90s saw the first incarnations of compressed data. Perhaps the most well-known of these early formats was MPEG-1 Audio Layer 1, which was released in 1993. This framework would lead to the development of the famous MP3 audio codec.MP3s, along with their early peers, were the first lossy file formats. As these formats gained traction, the industry coined a new term for them: “Codec” — short for Compressor/De-Compressor or Coder/Decoder.How Does It Work?Image via The7Dew.Lossy codecs throw away a considerable amount of the information contained in the source file or input data stream.Lossy codecs vastly reduce file size compared to uncompressed data sets. This is typically done by taking the input data set and reducing it to the closest approximate digital value. Different codecs have different bit depths — or the total number of possible digital values available for the interpretation of raw input data.The best lossy codecs are designed around the perceptual limitations of humans. Most uncompressed data contains a large amount of information that our eyes and ears are incapable of perceiving. This means that a well-designed lossy codec can eliminate a large amount of the total information contained before any human would ever be able to notice.Image via TaMaNKunG.Lossy codecs’ lightweight nature make them ideal for streaming and other live-broadcast applications.Lossy codecs are the worst possible format for archival purposes due to the fact that a significant amount of information in the source data set disappears. While humans might not be able to discern a difference between the raw data and the first lossy encode of that data, as more lossy versions are made from the original lossy encode, the perceptual differences become more and more apparent.Now, let’s enter the 21st century.LosslessThe first lossless codec was the “Fully Lossless Audio Codec,” or FLAC, and was released in 2000.The development of lossless codecs marked a sea change in the world of data compression. Lossless codecs claim to offer exact or near-equal quality to uncompressed data, but with file sizes much closer to lossy compression. This is a result of compressing the input data in a specific way so that the decoder can later reconstruct the original data set.Understanding the tech behind lossless compression can make your head spin if you go deep enough. YouTube tech darling Linus does a fantastic job of breaking down the basics in this video by Techquickie.In the example Linus gives, the string “XXXOOXXX” is encoded to “3 O2 3”. When the string needs to be accessed again, “3 O2 3” is decoded back into “XXX00XXX”.Image via Techquickie.Due to its ability to reconstruct an uncompressed data set from a compressed one, lossless encoding has largely eclipsed uncompressed data in nearly every situation. Most master-quality video and audio codecs use some form of lossless compression.The main trade-off for lossless compression is a slightly longer encode and decode time — much better than the drawbacks of lossy or uncompressed.Losslessly compressed data is the gold standard for all data archiving. The compressed files can be archived and then decoded once they need to be accessed again, thereby preserving all data while also reducing costs of storage.While all types of data compression offer some advantage over other types, lossless compression provides the most benefits with the least number of concessions to file size, mobility, or quality.The next few decades will likely take lossless codec technology to new heights as older lossy formats end their useful lifespans.Cover image via Dilok Kiatlertnapha.Looking for more on digital filmmaking? Check out these articles.Video Tutorial: An Inside Look at Adobe Premiere Pro 2019After MP3: The Past, Present, and Future of Audio CodecsThe Details Behind Reddit’s New Video Hosting CapabilitiesUnderstanding Image Noise in Your Film and Video ProjectsWhy Dual Native ISO Should Be the New Industry Standard
On low-budget documentary shoots, protecting the environment means careful use of natural light. But what if timing ruins a moment the crew can’t recreate?Live music performance videos have much to teach filmmakers about balancing spontaneity with clear images. Before impeccably lit, in-studio sessions offered by radio stations and editorial outlets, web-based, backpack-carrying, music-doc-makers avoided lights altogether. Director Vincent Moon (Mathieu Saura) catalyzed the trend we see today of on-location music performance videos and in-studio sessions with his Take Away Show series for La Blogothèque.Beginning in 2006, Moon and a small crew filmed bands in definitive spots meant to reflect their essence or origin. Jens Lekman sang “F Word” against a guardrail in the last light outside Paris; Arcade Fire performed in an elevator. The most commonly cited Take Away Show featured R.E.M. playing at Michael Stipe’s home in Athens, Georgia. Only the musicians’ faces are lit; everything else is dark.“Of 700 films I’ve made, I only used lights for one of them,” Moon laughs, remembering that 2007 shoot.Even then, he didn’t want his director of photography to fall back on lighting. Audiences and filmmakers are too uncomfortable with uncertainty, he says. Moon’s films invite the viewer to participate and embrace mystery rather than solve it with the flick of a switch. As industry norms veered toward a more controlled formula for performance videos, even the Take Away Shows, which continue under other directors, opt for a more studied setup like this one at Le Comptoir Général with Alicia Keys.So what can documentary filmmakers do to keep viewers engaged with slower moments as they happen? Director Morrisa Maltz holds holistic sensibilities like Moon, who went on to document music rituals in cultures around the world. Maltz’s subjects, too, stay off the path. Ingrid Gipson, a 74-year-old artist in exile from a successful career as a fashion designer in Texas, is the focus of Maltz’s lyrical film Ingrid. It debuted at Slamdance and is still making rounds on the festival circuit.Image via Ingrid.Maltz says she works so well with director of photography Andrew Hajek because of his ability to preserve natural settings while articulating clear images. The Dallas-based DP has a unique perspective — he’s steeped in the commercial world just as he makes deliberately artful docs with Maltz. I asked him how often the woods-heavy environs on Ingrid called for use of lighting that wasn’t already available onsite.“We used one single light, one time on Ingrid,” Hajek says. “She’d killed a rabbit and wanted to slice it up and cook it, but the way her kitchen was positioned meant no natural light really reached it. So the options were: turn on the hard tungsten overheads and have a totally flat image, or bang something through a window and sell it as morning light. I opted for that approach,” Hajek says.“All I had was a Tungsten 1000w, so I gelled it a little blue and skipped it across the countertops through a little window . . . I just didn’t wanna deliver a crappy image to a scene that I thought was important in showing her lifestyle.”Hajek has no shortage of tips for filmmakers who find themselves needing to keep to a natural style while problem-solving on location. We sat down with a few questions about his approach, and here’s what he had to say.Image via Ingrid.PremiumBeat: What is an ideal run-and-gun kit to have on hand?Andrew Hajek: I try to have a single SkyPanel S60, an M18, and a small hazer. From a commercial standpoint you can get a lot of setups accomplished with that kit. Obviously the scale of the shot and the scope of the creative have to be somewhat narrow, but you’re typically cutting so fast you don’t notice that only one of the background windows has an HMI blasting through it.The S60 can animate and change color temps/hue to match any location, so if you’re in a spot where you have to embrace the really green nasty overhead office lighting, you can light your subject with SkyPanel and match it exactly. And when you white-balance to that light, it fixes all the other ones. It might look horrible in real life, but through the lens, the skin tones are all fixed.I’ve been using a lot of Quasars lately as well. They are small, inexpensive, battery-powered bi-color lights that have a pretty good punch. They are also magnetic, so rigging them is a breeze.Also, the Aputure M9 bi-color credit card light is amazing. It’s a tiny little thing that’s great to hide in the scene.Image via Aputure.PB: How do you max out what’s already available onsite for an indoor shoot?AH: One of the first things you do on a tech scout is make sure you have access to the power of the location, because most built-in stuff sucks. Whether that’s a house or a coffee shop. As cool as it may look in real life, the camera hardly ever loves it. So walk into that five-million-dollar house and immediately kill all the lights. Figure out where the sun is going to be while you’re there and plan accordingly.A quick way to sometimes save yourself is by starting wide and faking it close. It’s a lot harder and more expensive to light a 24mm kitchen shot from across the house, than it is a 135mm shot.So bang out the wide really quick with the natural light before G/E even really loads in. Then take a breather while you light the tights.Image via The Unknown Country.PB: What are your go-to solutions when shooting at night?AH: The first struggle is always getting that moonlight right. I typically have done it with cards. Put a white card at the very end of your mombo combo as high as it’ll go and then hit that with an M18 or 800 with some blue gel. It’s a safer way of getting something up high, and you can menace-arm it out into the scene without all this weight hanging above.In the woods, we’ll use a hazer and then backlight that haze. We just did a overnight shoot in an alley in Singapore where we had vans parked and used their headlights to flare the lens and create that fake back wall also.Quasars into a little white card by lens is always a good idea to kick back a little eye light to the subject also.Image via The Unknown Country.PB: What’s the best way to mimic natural light?AH: On a recent project with Morrisa in South Dakota, we were going to shoot in this house, with real people not actors. We realized it was positioned with the sun where half the house was getting great ambient light and the other half wasn’t.So I brought in the hazer and the dana dolly to fix the other half. The hazer added beams of light, but it also acted like a little ambient fill light, because the beams bounced all over the place. So we shot all the interiors with just the hazer. Those are some of my favorite images in a while.Haze makes windows have less of a hard highlight line when compared to your inside exposure. Even if all you have access is a Party City fogger, you can still make that work. Turn off the fans and AC, close the doors and windows. Toot that fogger and then waft the hell out of it. Start small because they get out of hand quick. And let the air settle. If you can see the haze moving wait a minute. There’s a very fine line between cool atmo and the air looking like a Post Malone concert.Follow Maltz and Hajek’s forthcoming project The Unknown Country, which just won the Austin Film Society’s Pioneer Grant.Looking for more filmmaking insights? Check out these articles.Rock Rubber 45s: Documentary Tips for Working with Archival Footage and AssetsTips from the Team Behind the Ruth Bader Ginsberg Sundance Documentary7 Run-and-Gun Production Tips for Documentary FilmmakersHow to Write a Documentary TreatmentInterview: Filmmaker Bradley Olsen and His FCPX Documentary “Off the Tracks”
Capture powerful images with a signature look. In this write-up, we’ll look at how a graduated ND filter can make your shots look amazing.Shooting landscapes and beautiful, wide-open spaces is a really powerful way to situate your narrative. The difficult part is that, even at dusk, the sky is several stops brighter than the ground it illuminates.Now, you can try dealing with this by adding a gradient in post-production and bringing down the exposure of the sky over time. This works if you’re shooting raw and have a lot of control over the latitude. However, if the sun is at all visible, or you have bright clouds, you’ll generally end up with blown-out highlights, which is the opposite of cinematic.Another solution would be to shoot two exposures by locking off your camera, then combine in post. The issue with this technique is that, unless you match your camera movements exactly, you’ll get stuck with a static shot.The Duellists (Paramount Pictures).There’s a way to capture remarkable skies that aren’t too bright in your established location via landscape cinematography, and it’s been around for fifty years. Ridley Scott, a master of cinema, has used this technique since his first feature film — The Duellists.Neutral density filters are like sunglasses for your lens, or your camera. There are different ways you can apply them. The C200 has an internal ND, as does the Alexa, meaning that there’s a tiny piece of plastic or glass that comes down in front of the sensor, which you can vary from 4-6-8 stops. You can also get ones that screw on the front of your lens, or ones that drop into a Matte Box.So, how do you ND the sky without ND-ing the ground? The solution is the Graduated Neutral Density Filter. You can get these in different gradients or different strengths, as well as in tinted blue, orange, or straw.First, you need a Matte Box, where you typically have one filter that slides in and a second one that rotates. You need to load the filter into the filter tray and drop it in. You’ll notice that the top of the image has more ND than the bottom of the image. You can adjust this by sliding it in or out, or rotating the filter around to get different effects, customizing where the ND appears or where the gradient appears, depending on what you want your shot to be.If you’re shooting on a Super 35 camera like the C200, you’ll have more flexibility since the camera only uses the middle part of the lens. This means that you can get no ND, all ND, or something in-between.This allows you to capture amazing, deep, brooding skies at the same time as exposing your ground and subject correctly. You can also pan (or sometimes tilt), while still keeping the sky dark and the subject bright.Kingdom of Heaven (Twentieth Century Fox).One shot in Ridley Scott’s film Kingdom of Heaven uses ND on a diagonal forty-five degree angle. It travels across the frame, making some of the actors look too dark; however, in the greater scheme of things, you don’t notice it.Graduated ND is a really good tool for thinking about your image in zones — and how to expose different parts of the image at different values. You can even use it vertically to correctly expose an interior and exterior. You don’t necessarily need to nail the perfect exposure in both zones. You just need to bring the highlights down into the range of the camera so they aren’t blown out and there’s information you can recover in post.Looking for more cinematography tips and tricks? Check out these articles.The Right In-Air Diffusion for Your Project: Haze vs. Fog vs. Smoke4 Ways Still Photography Can Make You a Better Cinematographer and FilmmakerDrawing the Audience’s Eye by Shaping and Cutting LightWhat is Medium Format and Why You Want it for Your Next CameraThe Teradek RT System: A Positive Change in Focus Pulling
When I teach undergraduates my Personal Selling course (a survey on business-to-business sales), I begin the class by asking the students to tell me what words they would use to describe salespeople. Without failure, I hear words like “greedy,” “selfish,” and “manipulative.” I wait until I have a nice consensus that salespeople are in fact selfish scumbags before I spring my trap.Once I have listed all the negative stereotypes, I ask anyone who has a parent that works in sales to raise their hands. Normally about twenty-five percent of the students raise their hands. Some of their parents are entrepreneurs, making them salespeople, too.I ask the question, “So, Johnny, your dad is a manipulative, self-centered, dirt bag salesperson, huh? Johnny protests: “No way! My Dad is a great guy. His customers love him! He’s always finding ways to help them!” And I am certain this is true of Johnny’s father, and all the other fathers, mothers, and other family members that sell, too.The stereotypes are no longer true. Nor is the negative connotation.A Sense of PrideI sell. I am a salesperson.You sell. It’s what you do. That makes you a salesperson.Some of us have decided to call ourselves “business development,” in an attempt to distance ourselves from the word “sales.” There isn’t any more potent or powerful way to develop business than selling.Others have decided that they “facilitate buying decisions,” to put some space between what they do and a title they choose not to embrace. But salespeople have been “facilitating buying decision” for as long as their have been salespeople.Still others have decided to call themselves “consultant” to avoid having don the moniker “salesperson.” Or they instead call themselves “advisor” or “specialist.” They’re still salespeople, and they’re still selling.The behavior of millions of salespeople over the last few decades has proven the stereotypes wrong. The negative connotation only persists because we allow it to. And if a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch, then every profession must be equally tainted.Let’s take the word sales back. The next time someone asks you what you do, proudly look them in the eye and say, “I’m a salesperson.”QuestionsDo you embrace that you are a salesperson?What words do you use to describe what you do? Is there a single word among that list that is truly negative?Why do the negative connotation and negative stereotypes still persist, even when they’ve been invalid for decades?Are you proud of what you do for your company and your clients? Isn’t what you are doing what selling really is?
Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Since December 28th, 2009, I have written a blog post here every day (minus 13 days I spent in Tibet in 2010, when I thought I wouldn’t be able to post, not knowing how good China Mobile is in remote China). The practice of writing every day is something that has transformed my life in ways that I couldn’t have imagined, and it is a practice I will keep. Writing, however, is only one medium. There are more mediums to explore.Video is a different medium with which to share ideas and tell stories. More and more, this is going to be the medium with which communicate. The technology to replace the telephone with a video call exists now, and more and more, we are using video for business and personal communication. The devices we keep in our left hand that are never more than a few feet away lend themselves to this format, and it is a format many people prefer.It makes no sense to limit myself to a single medium when so many people prefer other formats, and when a lot of people want content in different mediums at different times, like audio when they are in their cars. I regret not starting sooner.Better Over TimeWhen I started writing, I wasn’t a very good writer. The archives here are proof. I leave them here as part of the history of my journey and my thinking over time. Even the ones that should embarrass me are still here, still published. Over time, I became a better writer. I still have many miles to go.I am starting daily video knowing that I will have this very same experience. What is now difficult will become easier over time. I expect to get better at video by practicing.Everyday, Every DayAs it stands now, the YouTube show is called Everyday. My friends at Kinopicz chose the name, and I like because it represents a commitment to Me Management, that set of disciplines that brings you long-term success.Today I published a short episode on the idea that if you want to be the kind of person that can help your dream client change, you need to change first. It’s a challenge, and it sets the bar high. Check it out here. While you are there, do hit the subscribe button.
When you work in sales, time can feel like your enemy. The goal that you are working towards is timed. Sometimes you have a full quarter to reach a goal, and other times you have a year. The slow countdown starts at the beginning of the period, and when it ends, a new countdown begins.The clock is relentless. It methodically ticks off the seconds, minutes, and hours. The seconds quickly turn into minutes, the minutes swiftly turn into hours, and before you know it, the time has disappeared before your very eyes. A minute of doing nothing will have little to no impact on your overall results. Wasting thirty minutes won’t do much damage either. You might be able to waste an entire half a day without any negative repercussions or consequences. That one day isn’t going to cause you to miss your goals.But you hours quickly turn into days. You can waste an entire day, giving up 20 percent of your week, and it’s unlikely that anyone will notice, nor will anyone say anything to you. You may be able to stretch out a wasted day to a wasted week, or maybe even a couple weeks, without anyone holding you accountable. If someone were to ask you what you’ve been doing, there are always tasks in your inbox that are work-related enough to give you cover. The inbox is a lovely alibi when you are wasting time, always there, willing to cover for you with things that look like work but do nothing to further your goals.You have thirteen weeks in a fiscal quarter. Giving up one of those weeks is to give up about 8 percent of the time you have in which to produce your goal. Giving up a month is to give up almost 31 percent of your time to produce whatever is required of you in that fiscal quarter. If you allow the time to slip by, you’re giving up the one resource you have that there is no way to reacquire. The time you spend without doing productive work is the time you are losing toward your goal. Later on, when you wish you had the time, it will be unavailable to you.Sales is a game of urgency. It requires that you do the work now, giving yourself as much time as possible to deliver the result you’re being asked to produce. It’s a mistake to waste that time and shorten the distance to the end of the quarter. In some human endeavors, it is impossible to cram. This is the law of the farm; you plant in Spring, you harvest in the Fall. If you do not plant in Spring, you will have nothing to harvest come Fall.There is no way to make up for lost time in this sale with an average cycle time of 90, 180, or 365 days. Not initiating a conversation and creating an opportunity 79 days ago, leaves you with 21 days to do what you know takes you 90 days, and with a prospective client who isn’t concerned about working on your timeline.You might think that this makes time your enemy. But time is neutral. It treats you the same as it treats everyone else. It shows up as a gift, completely paid for in full, yours to do with as you wish. The decision as to whether you invest time in big, important things, or spend it on what amounts to playing the penny slots is entirely yours alone.When you decide to waste time, it can certainly feel like it is the enemy because you will be deprived of it later, when you need it most. If you decide to manage yourself, using your time wisely, investing it in the most important outcomes you need to generate, time is a powerful ally.How you feel about time, is really how you feel about your ability to manage yourself and your willingness to focus and give your work your full attention and energy.
Two soldiers and a Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militant were killed in a gunfight at Pampore that started on November 2 evening and continued late in the night. Meanwhile, one militant was killed in Kupwara on November 3.A police spokesman said JeM’s Badar was killed at Samboora village of Pampore where a residential area was under cordoned off till November 2 night. “Badar was involved in a number of militant acts in south Kashmir,” police said. Sources said two more militants managed to escape from the encounter site “while opening indiscriminate fire at the security personnel”, which left two soldiers dead.The deceased soldiers were identified as Sepoy Suraj Singh Topal, 25, and Sigmn Kushwah Pradip Singh Brijkishor Singh, 22. The bodies were flown to their hometowns for last rites .In Pulwama, a shutdown was observed on November 3 after the encounter. There were sporadic clashes between security forces and protesters. Train service also remained suspended. Infiltration bid foiled, militant killedAn Army spokesman said one militant was killed after an infiltration bid was foiled by the soldiers Kupwara’s Machil Sector near the Line of Control (LoC) on November 3. “The weapon was also recovered from the militant’s body,” said Defence spokesman Lt. Colonel Rajesh Kalia. “The operation is on in the area.”
The supermoon on December 3 and not Cyclone Ockhi per se was responsible for the rise in seawater level that damaged Goa’’s coastline and beach shacks, according to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.At a press briefing post a Cabinet meeting, when asked about the State’s disaster management preparedness, Mr. Parrikar admitted that the State had no standard operating procedures (SOP) in place for managing such crises and natural disasters. The required SOPs were being worked out, he added.“The reason for the seawater level rise is simple. It is because there was a supermoon that day. Many people did not realise this. Supermoon means the biggest tidal effect. So as it is, even if there was no cyclone, you would have had the tide and most of the tide would have entered the shacks,” he said.“So first of all, this incident would have taken place even without a cyclone, because the water would be much higher than normal high tide. It is a special day; on that day it happens. With cyclone impact, some rise in water level added up. So the damage was slightly more,” he said.Nearly a dozen beaches along the State’s 100 km coastline were affected by the rise in seawater level on December 3 night. This led to sand erosion in many places and damage to beach shacks, temporarily erected eateries on beaches, which cater to the tourists, especially foreigners.Responding to criticism of the State government for poor disaster response mechanisms, Mr. Parrikar said, “At present, there is no SOP in place. So today we discussed. I have asked Revenue Minister to work out the SOPs. This is the biggest problem. So people do not know what to do next.”“This is one of the best thing I learnt from the Army. Everywhere, even if they have to shave, they will have SOP. How the clothes have to be tied. What should be the colour of the clothes,” Mr. Parrikar said recalling his experience as Defence Minister.He said that he ould definitely take the help of defence experts while putting in place a strong and responsive disaster management mechanism.
One woman was killed and eight people suffered injuries on Tuesday in clashes with security forces in Shopian’s Batmurran area, sparked by the killing of two militants in a night-long gunfight with security forces.According to hospital sources in Shopian, the woman, identified as Rubi Jan, was declared dead in the hospital. “She had bullet injuries in the abdomen and died on her arrival in the hospital,” said a hospital official.According to locals, the injured were “mainly hit by pellets fired from shotguns”.“Two bodies have been recovered from the encounter site so far,” said Director General of Police S.P. Vaid.Two weapons have also been recovered from the encounter site. Security forces used explosives to blast the house in which the militants were holed up.The gunfight erupted om Monday evening during a cordon and search operation by security forces.The identity of the militants is being ascertained, said the police.Omar expresses griefNational Conference working president Omar Abdullah expressed “sorrow and grief” over the killing of the woman.“With today’s killing of a civilian in Shopian, the number of civilians killed in Kashmir in 2017 has reached 60. This after the 100 plus killed in 2016. For all the claims and rhetoric of reconciliation, this is a stark, sad reality,” said NC spokesman Junaid Azim Mattu.
Hospital attackDhankhar’s first attack took place around 2:30 a.m. when he barged into Palwal Hospital carrying an iron rod and attacked one Anjum (32).“She was in hospital to attend her sister-in-law admitted for a delivery and was sleeping outside the ICU on the first floor. The accused walked up to her, took off the cloth on her face and hit her repeatedly on the head. The hospital staff and others rushed to the corridor when she screamed for help. The assailant hid himself in the wash-room. But five minutes later he walked out waving the iron rod at the staff and escaped,” said Shaukat Ali, the victim’s father-in-law.In the next hour, the police found five more bodies in a radius of a km from the hospital with similar injuries, hinting that a serial killer was on the loose. An alert was sent to all police stations and security beefed up at check-posts.Dhankhar was eventually arrested around 7 a.m. outside his father-in-law Dharampal Malik’s house in Adarsh Nagar after a neighbour alerted the police. Naresh’s estranged wife along with their two children, aged four and eight, stays with her father, a retired Army Captain .VRS on medical groundsThe police said Naresh was commissioned to the Army as Lieutenant in 2003, but took voluntary retirement on medical grounds three years later. He owns a flat in Omaxe City in Palwal and would often come to stay here. He has been absent from work since December 29.Naresh, the youngest among five brothers, was involved in a scuffle with a police constable in 2015 and a case was registered.Four of the deceased have been identified as Munshi Ram (35), Subhash (42), Khem Chand (45) and Sita Ram (50). Munshi Ram, Sita Ram and Subhash were security guards, Khem Chand was a factory worker in Ballabhgarh. One of the deceased, who appears to be a vagabond, is yet to be identified. A 40-year-old former Army officer, employed as a Sub-Divisional Officer with Haryana’s Agriculture Department, went on a murderous spree early on Tuesday, randomly killing six persons, including a pregnant woman, in the span of an hour in Palwal, 60 km south of Delhi.Naresh Dhankhar, who attacked his victims with an iron rod, was finally arrested around 7 a.m.Accused Naresh Dhankhar, a resident of Macchgar near Ballabhgarh, attacked policemen and sustained injuries in the scuffle as they tried to arrest him. He was referred to Safdarjang Hospital in Delhi after initial treatment at Faridabad’s Civil Hospital.Inspector General of Police, South Range, C.S. Rao told The Hindu that the attacks could be the culmination of a long-standing marital discord as the accused’s wife Seema and their two children have been staying with her parents sometime. He, however, added that the “immediate provocation” for the attacks was not known as the accused was unconscious and under treatment. He refused to speculate on the mental health of the accused, but said he was “upset” and “aggressive”. Accused Naresh Kadiyan in Palwal multiple murder case being taken for medical examination. | Photo Credit: Manoj Kumar
A complaint lodged by a para legal volunteer(PLV) of District Legal Service Authority(DLSA), North Goa district, a team comprising social activists and police officials on Saturday rescued a woman who was allegedly illegally confined to a room at Sakhali, Bicholim-taluk in North Goa, by her mother and brother for over 20 years.Senior official of the DLSA, North district told The Hindu on Tuesday that the confinement of the woman came to light after her cousin brought the issue to the attention of the police.The woman of around 45 years of age was found seriously malnourished and the police got her admitted to the North Goa district hospital, Mapusa, for treatment. The police said she was locked up by her mother while she was pursuing her Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in her early 20s.Taking into consideration her serious condition doctors at the primary health centre where she was initially taken for medical treatment advised the police to transfer her to the North Goa district hospital, Mapusa.”No formal police complaint has been filed yet. She is recovering at North Goa District Hospital”, Mr. Sanjay Dalvi, Police Inspector in-charge of Bicholim police station told The Hindu on Tuesday evening
A statue of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in Katwa town of West Bengal was found with its face blackened on Saturday, the police said.The blackened face was discovered in the morning by the locals, who then informed the police. Following this, Congress workers held a demonstration in front of the police station demanding immediate arrest of those responsible for the act.A complaint was lodged by them, the police said, adding investigation into the incident was under way.Chairman of the Trinamool Congress-run Katwa municipality Rabindranath Chattopadhyay condemned the incident and said the statue was cleaned by the civic body later in the day.Subhashish Samanta, the secretary of the Congress’ Katwa unit, alleged that BJP workers were behind the incident, but the latter’s rural district secretary Sandip Nandy denied the party had any role in it.A bust of Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee was vandalised on March 7 in Kolkata by seven persons, including a woman.Statues of Lenin, social reformer Ramasamy Periyar and that of B.R. Ambedkar were vandalised in Tripura, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh respectively in recent days.
A seven-year-old girl attending a wedding was allegedly raped and strangled here early on Tuesday by a man hired to set up tents for the ceremony, police said.The Yogi Adityanath government has invoked the stringent National Security Act against the alleged rapist. Under the Act, a person can be detained without bail or trial.According to police, the incident took place at around 1.30 a.m. near Mandi Samiti gate on the Aliganj road where the girl was attending a wedding with her family. Sonu Jatav, 19, who was setting up the marquees for the ceremony, allegedly lured the girl, raped her and subsequently killed her, Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Chaurasia said. He added that the youth was inebriated. “After this, the accused fled the spot. The body of the girl was found in an under-construction house in the vicinity of the marriage venue. A rope was found tied around the neck of the girl,” he said.The victim was rushed to the district hospital where she was declared brought dead. The body of the girl has been sent for post-mortem examination. “On the basis of complaints filed by family members, police have arrested Sonu Jatav,” he said. “A case has been registered against the accused for rape and murder of the girl,” the SP said. The POCSO Act, which seeks to protect children from sexual offences, has also been invoked.He said the National Security Act will be slapped on the accused.Enraged over the heinous crime, the victim’s family blocked the Etah-Farrukhabad road, while opposition parties slammed the Yogi Adityanath government for the “sudden spurt” in rape cases.The protesters, demanding ₹10 lakh as compensation, lifted the blockade after a couple of hours following an assurance from Premlata Verma David, wife of Etah MLA Vipin Kumar David, that their demands will be looked into, police said.Slamming the ruling BJP, Samajwadi Party spokesperson and MLC Sunil Singh Sajan said, “I simply fail to understand why the law and order in the State has deteriorated so much after the BJP has come to power in UP. “On the one hand, the government claims that encounters are going on in the State and on the other the crime ratio has surged. The BJP had claimed that as soon as they come to power, the law and order will improve. But going by the sudden spurt in incidents, I feel that even minor girls are not safe in the State,” he said.The Congress also criticised attacked the BJP government. Party’s U.P. spokesperson Ashok Singh said, “It is an irony that criminal elements are roaming freely in the State, and UP has become virtually the number one state in the country going by the spurt in rapes and other crimes.” He added, “Congress will soon launch a mass movement across the state to highlight the surge in crime.” The BJP, however, said the party does not believe in protecting criminals. “Unlike the past state governments which used to shield criminal elements, the BJP believes in ensuring that swift action is initiated against them. The police in UP are working without any ‘dabaav’ (pressure) and ‘prabhaav’ (influence),” he said. “FIRs which were not registered in the previous state government’s regime are now being immediately registered,” Singh said.
Chinese national Wu Tiandong, 32, who was arrested under the stringent Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act 2016, was released on bail on Friday from Patna’s Beur Central Jail. Mr. Wu, who works for a private mobile company, was arrested on June 17 in an inebriated state. A liquor bottle was recovered from his guest house in the Gardanibagh police station area. The Patna High Court granted him bail on a bond of ₹10,000 with two sureties; the papers reached the Beur Central Jail on Friday. Mr. Wu is the first foreign national to be arrested under Bihar’s stringent liquor law. Officials said he was served noodles and boiled vegetables in the prison.