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10 Questions to Ask When Creating a Social-Media Marketing Plan

Posted by Doug Brogdon on September 20, 2013

10 Questions to Ask When Creating a Social-Media Marketing Plan

September 16, 2013

Ever heard the saying “Failing to plan is planning to fail?” That old but wise adage often rings true when it comes to social-media marketing. Creating a detailed, goal-oriented social-media strategy is just as important as having a rock solid business plan.

“If your social-media plan is to just wing it, your fans and potential customers are going to know,” says Amy Porterfield, social media strategist and co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies (Wiley, 2013). Worse, it could turn them off of your brand and on to your competitors.

To attract and engage social-media fans and followers — and ideally convert them into customers — you’ll need to carefully map out a clear, effective social-media strategy. Here are some questions you should ask when building your company’s social-marketing plan:

1. What should my company aim to achieve with social media?
That depends on the type of business you’re in. You may want to use social media to gain exposure for your brand, to directly interact with your customers or to promote specific products and services.

“The first and most important step in creating your plan is to clearly identify your goals,” says Lee Odden, chief executive of TopRank Online Marketing, a Minnesota-based, a digital marketing agency, and author of Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing (Wiley, 2012). “Next, understand your customers’ goals, and then figure out how your social-media strategy will connect both.”

Odden suggests that you first define how your social-media outreach marketing will provide value to your customers. Specifically, think about how you can use social media to solve your customers’ problems.

#insert related here#

2. Who should set up and maintain my company’s social media accounts?
If you’re a small company with few employees, consider delegating the task to a staff member who has a good track record of implementing effective social-media campaigns. If you have a larger company, a qualified employee in the marketing department might be a good fit for the task. Businesses with larger budgets but not enough experience with social-media marketing could benefit from hiring a social-media marketing consultant or firm, says Odden.

3. Should my company have a presence on all of the popular social-media networks?
As a starting point, Odden advises that small businesses begin with a blog and a presence on just one social network, at least for the first few months. Which network? Find out what by surveying your customers about which platforms they use the most.

The more your company grows — as well as your digital marketing budget — the more social networks you can experiment with.

4. What are the best social networks for small businesses?
Whether your company is large or small, you can’t go wrong with a Twitter account, Odden says. It’s a platform that is easy to learn and use, and you can’t beat the 140-character limit.

Odden also says Google+ is essential to be on, if only to boost your site’s search engine optimization (SEO). If your company is mainly a B2B firm, you’ll want to be on LinkedIn and Slideshare to reach influencers within your industry. For B2C companies, being on Facebook and Pinterest can be smart.

5. How often should I post new content on my social networks?
Porterfield advises posting on all of your social networks two to five times a day. Your followers visit social-media sites at different times of the day. “One post a day simply isn’t enough because most of your fans won’t see it simply due to timing,” she says.

To reach more of your followers more often, stagger your posts consistently throughout the day.

6. What types of content should I post on which social platforms?
Certain types of content generally work better on certain social-media platforms, according to Odden. For example, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram are inherently visual, so striking, memorable images of your products, company events and perhaps behind-the-scenes snapshots of employees at work can be effective choices for those particular platforms. But text-only status updates on Facebook without an accompanying link also trend well, especially when asking questions.

On Twitter, aim for a good balance of tweeting about your company and retweeting others’ content, including that of your business partners and industry influencers, according to Odden. LinkedIn is popular for sharing company news, productivity tips and thought leadership articles.

Odden recommends curating a diverse mix of content types (standout photos, short videos, useful links, helpful tips, thoughtful question, etc.) across your social-media platforms to keep things interesting and fresh. When you do, your followers will come back for more.

7. Should I use social media to provide customer service?
Social media is fast becoming the most common way for current and potential customers to interact with businesses. You can use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other platforms to instantly (and publicly, mind you) field and respond to customer questions, order status inquiries, and, yes, even complaints.

8. How can I convert social-media followers into customers?
Porterfield says there aren’t any surefire tricks to earn fans’ and followers’ dollars, though some tactics seem to work better than others. For instance, Facebook ads can be an easy, inexpensive way to grow your fan base, increase engagement and collect sales leads. It’s up to you to convert those sales leads.

Porterfield also suggests implementing a cross-platform contest that integrates several social channels, like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest. Sweepstakes that offer rewards that resonate with your target market can be effective in attracting potential customers. To drive consumers to your online store, for example, you might send a tweet that describes a contest on your Facebook Page with a link to the rules and entry form found within your online store.

9. How can I measure the success of my social-media marketing efforts?
It’s important to continually track your social-media marketing metrics in order to gauge which tactics and types of posts work and which don’t.

Some social platforms offer their own metrics. Facebook, for instance, gives Page administrators access to Page Insights data for free. These tell you how many people are interacting with your posts. You can use the data to better plan future posts and decide on the most effective ways to connect with your fans and followers. LinkedIn provides similar analytics for company pages.

Use Google Analytics to see how effective your social-media campaigns are at driving traffic to your main website or online store. If you see Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or other social platforms you’re active on listed as top referrers to your site, your social-media efforts are not for naught.

10. What is the biggest mistake to avoid?
Ironically, the answer here is not having a social-media plan. So, have one and stick to it. “Social media is constantly changing, so you need to be ready to change and adapt all the time as well,” Porterfield says. Constantly evaluate and refine your social strategy. Doing this on a monthly basis can help you identify which tactics are working and which ones to ditch.

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Sr. Sales Role Requirements Have Changed in the last few years! Past vs. Present

Posted by Doug Brogdon on April 26, 2012

Sr. Sales Role Requirements Have Changed in the last few years! Past vs. Present

Times sure do change.  The senior level sales roles that are open today are much different than they were five to ten years ago.  Here are some general observations that I have noticed that pertain to most sales roles these days:

1.  You should have 5+ years direct experience selling the employer’s direct competitors products.

2.  You should have clients you are willing to bring over.

3.  You should be able to hit the ground running and require minimal training.

4.  You should have documented quota and salary history.

Prior to 2007 the top four differed in the following ways:

1.  You should have 5+ years of related experience

2.  We offer a comprehensive training program

3.  We offer competitive compensation and benefits package

4.  Good references that can confirm you background

So what has changed?  Well for one, many companies have had to learn to run lean.  This means that most people are doing the work for two people, if not more.  They are covering bigger territories and selling more products.  Nobody seems to have time to train anybody in anything these days.  I remember when companies wanted to train their sales reps their ways and even frowned on employees from their competitors.  Now it is the norm.

Bringing over clients to your new job is also a new change that has taken over since 2008.  This has always been a part of some sales roles, but not to the extent it is today.  This was in fact frowned upon and looked at as unethical.  I can give a perfect example:

Back around the 2002 time frame I had some friends that entered the medical device field (knees/hips/back…).  They were/are very successful to this day.  At that time when I looked into it for myself, I was told most of the firms were looking for bright college graduates with some good sales experience.  Upon hire, you would spend a month, or more, in dedicated training learning the products, applications and sales processes.  They wanted you to learn things their way.  Today, the same companies want reps from their top competitors with the expectation that you will be transferring your old clients to your new products.  Like I said, times do change.

I guess I should be glad that I got my experience when I did.  I started off in the healthcare staffing business and migrated over to information technology because of my basic skills, related industry (staffing) and personality.  I then moved into the engineering and wrapped up in the creative (web, graphics and marketing) field before becoming self employed.  I do not think that career path would have been possible today.  Each of my employers pooled my background and taught me the specifics of the aspects that were different.  This was usually product knowledge and internal software packages.  There was a ramp up process.  NOT TODAY!

Compensation has also changed.  Many companies are more focused on incentives than on salary.  In other words, what can you do for me?  Rather than, what can we do for you?   You hear the word “draw” much more now, than “salary”.  Benefits are also much more expensive now.  Not only to the employer, but also to the employee.  The percentage the employer contributes is usually less now, then five years ago.

These observations are not across the board, but they are more common.  So if you are looking for a new job in sales, keep these things in mind.  If you feel you are a good fit, and not getting a lot of positive feedback from employers you are applying to, it may be because you are not working for their top competitor.  Being a nice person and having good related experience does not cut it these days.

by Doug Brogdon, Principal at CHANGE in PLAN Career Services (doug@changeinplan.com) 

Posted in Career Coaching, Outplacement, Recruiting, Staffing Industry, Starting a New Business, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Leave Them Hanging! The best cure for ILS (Interview Limbo Syndrome).

Posted by Doug Brogdon on March 13, 2012

Don’t Leave Them Hanging!  The best cure for ILS (Interview Limbo Syndrome).

Seems like the economy is picking up a bit and a many of my career coaching clients are find work.  That is great!  It also seems there is a problem in a lot of today’s hiring departments.  Not only are many HR personnel over worked, and under appreciated, but a lot of them seem to be unable to provide feedback to the numbers of unemployed candidates they are interviewing.  I know of many people that have never heard back from a hiring manager, or HR, after 1, 2 and even 3 on site interviews.  This is unacceptable.

Let me first state that I under stand people are busy.  I know HR departments have gone through cuts and are as lean as the rest.  Let me also state that I do not feel that feedback is required in response to an application, or even a phone screen (if the phone screener states “don’t call us, we will call you”).  I do feel that if you are going to ask a person to take half of their day to come in, get dressed up, fill out paperwork, and take time to do all the proper interview procedures I suggest (research, follow up…), YOU OWE THEM SOMETHING!  And by something I mean ANYTHING.  Because we all know that something is better than nothing.  An email, phone call, letter or even a text is all we are asking, so that the candidate can have some closure, and move on.

I know of circumstances where a employed person had to take off two days from work to drive a few hundred miles, stay in a hotel, and interview for nearly 12 hours.  Not only did the company not reimburse them (don’t get me started), they never got back to the candidate.  Some companies may even be very interested in a candidate, but wait months to let them know.  Then the hiring manager asks, “how did we loose him/her?”  These are extreme examples, but commonplace.  The Golden Rule applies here, Do unto to others as…………..you know the rest.

So in conclusion, do us all a favor, if you are not going to hire someone, or if you are, please Don’t Leave Them Hanging!

By Doug Brogdon, Principal at CHANGE in PLAN Career Services, llc

www.changeinplan.com,  http://www.linkedin.com/in/dougbrogdon

 

Posted in Career Coaching, Outplacement, Recruiting, Staffing Industry, Starting a New Business, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Doug’s Job Blog: The Trials and Tribulations of a TWEENER, 9/11 edition

Posted by Doug Brogdon on September 7, 2011

Doug’s Job Blog: The Trials and Tribulations of a TWEENER, 9/11 edition

Are you a Tweener? Do you know what one is? In the world of job search it can mean two things. First, a Tweener can be in between jobs. Work limbo if you will. But I am talking about the second kind of employment Tweeners that are looking for work, but find themselves either over, or under, qualified for opportunities they are interested in. Wikipedia calls a Tweener “one whose skills and physical attributes do not precisely fit any one position”. Either way, I would guess that half of the 20% of US population that is either looking for work, or under employed, are Tweeners!

So if you are a Tweener, how is it going? Are you finding yourself over/under qualified for a lot of the jobs that are available out there? Do you find yourself having most of what a company is looking for, but in a different industry? Are you having a hard time marketing yourself to those roles? Do you find yourself unfairly judged before you get to tell your side of the story? I imagine you do. Most of my clients are/were in that boat. So what do you do in that situation to minimize the negatives and maximize the positives of a Tweener in today’s job market?

First we can talk about being under qualified. I see a lot of people that are afraid to apply for a job because they are missing some of the qualifications. You have senior level experience, but you’re not a manager. You have healthcare sales, but not hospital sales. You have recruited software engineers but not mechanical engineers. Your programming skills are a version or two from the current release. Let me tell you, if you feel that you can do a good job at the role you are looking at, and can document how you did a related role successfully for someone else, Go For It! Do not let certifications, education, and nitty gritty specifics get in your way. Especially if you were doing this for one of the companies competitors, or their customers. There is a right way, and wrong way to sell yourself and that is where a good career coach can come into play (shameless plug). But what I can tell you is that you need to get away from email and on line applications and do it in person (or over the phone).

Now what if you are over qualified? There are a lot of senior and mid level executives that have been escorted to the door in the last few years, and they are having a harder time finding work than the lower level candidates. So what do they do if they see a role that looks very interesting, but is a lower level, pays less and would be considered a “step down”? First, you need to lower you compensation expectations and determine if you would be really happy in this position. If so, you need to be able to talk to that and set that expectation with the employer up front. This is critical because most employers that look at over qualified candidates think that if they hire them, they will quit as soon as they find a higher paying job. And they have good reason to think that, because a lot do! So you have a harder job convincing that gate keeper, or decision maker, that you would be a good fit. The same applies if you are looking at roles that are related to your background, but are in different verticals. As indicated above, the best way to do this is in person.

In either case, you need to remember that “people buy from people” and weather you like it or not, you are selling yourself. Email is a poor way to show anyone what kind of personality you have, or how you can overcome obvious Tweener obstacles. It can be done, and it is done every day. You can do it!

by Doug Brogdon Principal at CHANGE in PLAN Career Services, llc
http://www.changeinplan.com, office – 919-539-4905, LI Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dougbrogdon

Posted in Career Coaching, Outplacement, Recruiting, Staffing Industry, Starting a New Business, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Job Boards – What are they good for? – Absolutely Something – Say it again

Posted by Doug Brogdon on September 14, 2010

Job Boards – What are they good for?  – Absolutely Something – Say it again

By Doug Brogdon, Principal at CHANGE in PLAN Career Services, llc.  http://www.linkedin.com/in/dougbrogdon,       9-14-10

I have had close to twenty years of experience in the staffing industry.  Sixteen of those have had some sort of connection with Job Boards.  I was either posting jobs for my employers, my customers, using them as a sales tool selling staffing services, or in my own searches for a new career opportunity.  In my past, and current, experiences, I have found that there are good reasons to use Job Boards.  There are also bad reasons to use Job Boards.

There are two reasons why somebody is not a big fan of Job Boards.  First is that you are a job seeker and have not had success finding a new job by using them.  Second, your a recruiter/employer and are paying a hefty price for access to the resume database and to post positions.  If you have not produced a number of placements from these tools, you are also not very happy with them.  Today, we will address the job seeker.  I must say, if you are using job boards as the main tool to look for new jobs, you are going to be disappointed.  And it is your fault!  When I am dealing with my career coaching clients, I give them the following advise:

  • Post your resume on Monster and CareerBuilder so that other companies can see you.  That is free advertising for you.  While you are eating, sleeping, watching TV and so forth, your information is out there and the people that are paying for the resume database can see you any time they want.
  • Have your Linkedin profile resemble your resume.  That is another way to advertise yourself for free.  Linkedin is starting to take over the recruiting world as the tool of choice in finding candidates.  Like I said, its free!  So make yourself shine as much as possible.  Get glowing references from all your previous employers.  Set up a blog to show your knowledge of areas related to your background and link to it on your LI profile.
  • Search the job boards via Simplyhired.com or Indeed.com.  These are job board portals that scrub numerous job posting sites and save you time verses using numerous ones.  This should be a SMALL part of your search, but I suggest you check them once a week to see if something new has been posted.
  • Do not apply for a job via the job boards, unless someone at the end user company tells you to.  Job Boards are a great way to see who is hiring, and what kinds of jobs are being hired for.  But you need to be contacting companies directly, getting referrals and selling yourself.  If you are only using a job board as your only means of finding work, you are going to have a hard time.  End of story.  Applying for a job via a Job Board should be your LAST RESORT.  Now if the job is advertised via a staffing company, you can apply to them, but your are better served to GO DIRECT.

The last two career coaching clients of mine have found new jobs by researching the companies that have employees with similar backgrounds to theirs, in the areas they want to live.  They then reach out to the people at these companies and request an Informational Interview.  This usually leads to a referral, which then leads to a direct communication with a potential co-worker, or boss.  This takes practice and requires you to have a pitch that is very short, to the point and friendly.  Both of these clients found jobs that were NOT POSTED on the Job Boards, or on the company web site!  Go figure.

I find the boards are a good sales tool as well, but we can cover that at another time.  So if you are looking for a job, let the boards help you, but YOU NEED TO HELP YOURSELF!

Posted in Career Coaching, Outplacement, Recruiting, Staffing Industry, Starting a New Business, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Are the sharks circling? How to Conduct a PRO-Active vs. RE-Active Job Search!

Posted by Doug Brogdon on June 24, 2010

Are the sharks circling?  How to Conduct a PRO-Active vs. RE-Active Job Search!

One of the things I have learned over the years in the staffing industry is that it is a lot easier to find a job when you are working, than when you are not.  You also have a lot more control and leverage on the opportunities that you are investigating.  So when I get coaching requests from so many unemployed people that are eating through their emergency funds, I asked myself, what signs are there that can help a professional know that their roles may be eliminated and what can they do about it?

First the signs.  There are many, but here are a few that may tip you off:

  • Constant rumors about being sold or merging with other companies
  • You have been requested to take a pay cut
  • Your benefits are being cut back (401k match, vacation…)
  • There is a lot of turnover
  • There is a lot of complaining and fighting in the ranks
  • You company has a lot of competition that has cheaper rates (loosing customers)
  • Your company makes (provides services) that are wants vs. needs

These are just a few examples of things you want to keep your eyes open for.  If you want to get an even simpler prospective, what is the vibe in the office.  Are people happy, or constantly tense and negative?  So what can you do if you feel there are negative changes around the corner that may effect you?  GET PRO-ACTIVE!  Here are some things that you can do while you are working to take control of your employment situation:

  • Hire a career coach!  (yes, this is a plug)
  • Update your resume  (your career business card.  It needs to pop!)
  • See who is hiring   (job boards will give you a good idea)
  • Start networking  (Get out there and shake some hands)
  • Let recruiters/HR folks know you are out there (post resume, update Linkedin Profile……..)
  • Keep up with current events (who is doing well, moving to the area…)
  • Join some professional associations related to your profession or geography

Like I said, the best time to look for a job is when you have a job.  You are less vulnerable and have the luxury to be selective in your next career opportunity.  Taking control of things is much easier than being a victim of circumstance!

http://www.linkedin.com/in/dougbrogdon

Posted in Career Coaching, Outplacement, Recruiting, Staffing Industry, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The best gift to your teen- TEST THEM!

Posted by Doug Brogdon on June 1, 2010

The best gift to your teen- TEST THEM!

After watching the news the past few weeks I realized that it is that time of year again, College Graduation.  Hundreds of thousands of twenty somethings pouring into this grand economy of ours.  Very similar to the time when I graduated from college back in 1991.  After twelve years of very good public school education and four years of “higher education”, I had a nice four year degree in a business related field.  The problem for me, and for the multitude of those in that situation now, I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WANTED TO DO FOR A LIVING!

There is a very big problem in our country that seems to go unattended to each year.  A large majority of our college graduates have no idea what they want to do when they graduate.  It seems that after our elementary years when we are  nicely asked “what do you want to be when you grow up”, nothing is done for those kids that are not sure.  Assuming they have a good head on their shoulders and get decent grades, then can just float along in our system and get to where so many are, and have been, Jobless.  We wonder why we fall so far behind other countries in this area?

I graduated from college, put my nice degree on my wall and proceeded to be a bouncer, dish washer an waiter prior to getting my first “professional” job.  The following 15 years followed the course of that first job.  Not because it was something to do while I was growing up, not because it was something I was trained for in college, but because it was the first job I got, noting more.  And so it is for many of the kids out there today.  And we wonder why there are so many people looking for a career change now?  They never really liked what they were doing for the last ten or so years, it is just where that first job led them.

So why am I ranting and raving about this today?  Because IF YOU ARE A PARENT, you can play a role in helping your child develop their God Given gifts into something real when they graduate from which ever level of education they/you choose!  This especially applies to parents of early teens who are starting out in high school.  Many have heard of adult assessment testing like Myers Briggs or DISC (http://www.discprofile.com/whatisdisc.htm).  Who says they can’t be used for kids?  They can, and they have customized versions for different age groups.  In fact, many schools provide this for free for students, but make it hard for the students/parents to find out about it, and its advantages.  The CollegeBoard (www.collegeboard.com) provides a My College QuickStart college/career planning kit for free for any student that has taken the PSAT.  If you do get your child tested, make sure you have a professional to interpret the results and then meet with your guidance counselor to plan a course of action.  Your kids have to do the work, but you can do your part to point them in the right direction and help them to have a rewarding and fulfilling career!

By Doug Brogdon, Principal at CHANGE in PLAN Career Services (www.changeinplan.com)

Posted in Career Coaching, Outplacement, Recruiting, Staffing Industry, Starting a New Business, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Ask the Ex!

Posted by Doug Brogdon on February 17, 2010

Ask the Ex!

2-17-10         Composed by Doug Brogdon, Principal at CHANGE in PLAN Career Services

One thing that that I have learned is that Job Seekers look for a new career in the same way they have normally communicated in the past.  They are afraid to do things “outside the box”.  If you are a phone person, you don’t email enough.  If you are an email person, you are probably afraid to pick up the phone.  If you are used to applying for a job via the HR department, you are probably not calling the hiring manager.  In order to get a job in today’s economy, you need to be willing to do things that you are not used to do.

When I am providing career coaching services, I am constantly pushing LinkedIn on my customers.  In fact, I feel I should be compensated by LinkedIn for all the attention I give them!  I mandate that each person sign up before I meet with them.  We use the tool to research companies and the people that work for them.  There are so many ways that LinkedIn can help a Career Search, we can’t get into them right now.  There is one bone I am willing to throw out, and nobody seems to use it.  ASK THE EX! What do I mean by that?  Well, most people know how to use LinkedIn to find people that work for the company that they want to apply to.  What they don’t realize is that the people that USED TO WORK THERE can be even more important!  Just think about it.  If someone called you and asked if you had a minute to talk about a place you used to work, you probably would.  There is no fear of getting in trouble, no problem telling what you thought of the place, who you worked for and if you liked the job.  Even better, you would probably tell the person asking, who they should reach out to.  Now you have a REFERRAL!  And if you don’t know it by now, getting your foot in the door is all about referrals!

So, next time you are researching a career opportunity, don’t forget to ASK THE EX!

____________________________________________________________________________________________
CHANGE in PLAN Career Services
Outplacement, Recruiting and Career Coaching
Phone- 919-539-4905

Posted in Career Coaching, Outplacement, Recruiting, Staffing Industry, Starting a New Business, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

God Works In Strange Ways!

Posted by Doug Brogdon on January 12, 2010

This was was written by a friend, Russ Andrews (russ.andrews@findingpurpose.net)  Great Read!  Pass it on- Doug

God works in strange ways!

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

The following is a recap of the events that transpired in the life of Lawrence Duke and Will Teague Saturday morning, January 2, 2010.

William Duke’s recap of the events:

You may not know this yet so I wanted to let you know. My brother Lawrence was in a serious hunting accident Saturday morning. He was hunting with friends and family at Pamlico Point near Hobuckin NC. He was accidentally shot in the thigh and he ended up having his left leg amputated. He was hunting in a blind with my brother-in-law Will Teague and the guide was nearby finishing setting decoys. A 12 gauge shotgun was accidentally dropped and fired through Lawrence’s thigh destroying the femur bone, severing the main artery and causing an obviously huge amount of trauma. Lawrence fell over the front of the blind onto dry land between the blind and the water. Will Teague called for the guide to come help and took the guide’s knife and cut open the waders. Will had some training in first aid and knew to put a tourniquet around Lawrence’s upper leg to stop the bleeding. Will took off Lawrence’s belt and cinched it down around his leg, cut a new hole in the belt with the knife, and buckled it. Will found a sturdy stick and put it under the belt and turned it hard, tightening the belt, until he felt the bleeding stop and the blood turning cold with his other hand. He held it there for about 1 hour.

Will and Lawrence called 911 and the ambulance took about 1 hour to arrive at the impoundment. They called Will and Lawrence repeatedly saying they could not find them. When the ambulance finally arrived my Dad saw it from where he was hunting driving down the dike. That was the first he knew of an accident. They got Lawrence into a small row boat and took him across the water to the dike. Then they brought him up the bank and onto the dike and into the ambulance. They transported him about 15 minutes to a small town called Hobuckin where a helicopter had arrived and was waiting. The helicopter transported him to Greenville’s Pitt County Memorial Hospital. He was conscious until he arrived at the hospital. He went immediately into surgery and the doctors soon agreed the leg would have to be amputated. The doctors also said he would have bled out completely within 5-6 minutes from the wound, and that whoever knew how to use the tourniquet saved his life.

A look at these events through the lens of Scripture: written by Russ Andrews

I had the privilege of meeting Lawrence about a year ago when he came by my office one day and introduced himself. He said he wanted to get involved in one of my Bible studies as he wanted to turn his life completely over to the Lord and walk with Him the rest of his days here on earth. So, he soon began attending not one, but two of my studies. I lead a group of about 15-20 young men who are from 24-35 years of age at my house every Monday. Lawrence began coming to this study.

When I heard what had happened to Lawrence I knew that I had to go and see him. In fact, this past Monday as I was preparing for our Bible study at my house (the one Lawrence would normally have been coming to) I received a call. On the other end of the line I heard someone say, “Good morning Russ, this is Lawrence.” He was calling me from his Intensive Care Unit. I couldn’t believe it. He knew we were getting ready for Bible study and he just wanted to talk.

Later that afternoon, I drove down to Greenville to visit Lawrence. This is what he told me about the accident. He said that the impact of the shell blew him out of the blind. He looked down and saw the water turning red and he saw that his left leg was nearly blown off. Will was on him immediately and began to apply the tourniquet. As Will was tightening the tourniquet, Lawrence yelled at him to stop. But, Will continued tightening it informing Lawrence that he was not going to let him die. Will saved his life!

Lawrence said that he felt the presence of the Lord with him. At first he thought he was going to die, and he said he was at peace knowing that he was going to meet his heavenly Father. He said that an incredible calm came over him.

Later, as he was being transferred from the impoundment by boat over to a waiting ambulance, Lawrence said that he focused his mind and heart on the cross. He said that as he did this, he sensed the presence of Jesus with him. An incredible calm continued to hang over him.

When I met with Lawrence Monday afternoon, he told me that he was more concerned about Will than he was himself. He told me that if anyone came to know the Lord as a result of this, then it was all worth it. We prayed. He held my hand. When I was emotional during my prayer, Lawrence squeezed my hand tightly. Lawrence gave me comfort. He said he was battling some fear, but that as soon as he focused on the Lord, the fear dissipated.

Lawrence is going to be okay. He knows the Lord. The Lord never gives His children more than they can handle. The Lord promises to be with His children no matter what they go through.

So, what does the Bible have to say about pain and suffering in the lives of believers? Let me give you some truths from the Word of God.

1)                  In this world we will all have to deal with pain and suffering. We live in a fallen world. Death entered the world when man first sinned. We have been dying ever since. In John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The Bible also states that “he sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” We will all have to face difficulties, pain, sickness and eventually death! It is part of life. But let me ask you this: Would you rather face all of this with the Lord or without Him?

2)                  For the believer, pain and suffering have an eternal purpose and God can and will work them out for good. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him…” Here’s the deal: if you choose to follow Christ, He promises to work everything out for good for those who love Him, even amputated legs. Our life here is short. Christians will be on the other side of death very soon. Then, we will see how God used our trials and tribulations for eternal good. And we will thank Him for them.

2 Corinthians 4:16-20 states, “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-20 is one of Dave Dravecky’s favorite passages of Scripture. You may remember that he was the star pitcher for the San Francisco Giants before having to have his pitching arm amputated due to cancer.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seamed with scars; martyrs have put on their coronation robes glittering with fire, and through their tears have the sorrowful first seen the gates of Heaven. –Chapin

3)                  Nothing comes into the life of God’s children (believers) that does not pass through His hands first. God allows suffering to come into the lives of His children because He has some purpose for it. 1 Peter 4:19 states, “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” Suffering is part of the will of God. This may be a difficult truth to understand or accept, but it is still the truth. God will give us complete understanding of His ways when we get to heaven. Steven Estes who wrote “When God Weeps!” writes the following: “God’s plan is specific. He screens the trials that come to each of us—allowing only those that accomplish his good plan, because He takes no joy in human agony. Nothing happens by accident…not even tragedy…”

Quotes:

“To the child of God, there is no such thing as an accident. He travels an appointed way. Accidents may indeed appear to befall him and misfortune stalk his way, but these evils will be so in appearance only and will seem evils only because we cannot read the secret script of God’s hidden providence and so cannot discover the ends at which He aims…The man of true faith may live in the absolute assurance that his steps are ordered by the Lord. For him, misfortune is outside the bounds of possibility. He cannot be torn from this earth one hour ahead of the time which God has appointed, and he cannot be detained on earth one moment after God is done with him here.”

—A. W. Tozer

“Every sorrow we taste will one day prove to be the best possible thing that could have happened. We will thank God endlessly in heaven for the trials he sent us here. This is not Disneyland—it is truth.”

—Steven Estes (When God Weeps)

“If I love God, suffering does not ultimately matter. Christ in me is what matters. Pain does not cease to be pain, but I can ‘rejoice in suffering’ because the power of God in my life is greater than suffering’s vice-grip can ever be. I want to see the sculpture finished.”

—Joni Eareckson Tada (Quadraplegic)

Verses:

Hebrews 5:7-9 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered  and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him…”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Romans 8:17 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

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The Perfect Christmas Gift to “Pay It Forward”. Career Coaching!

Posted by Doug Brogdon on December 9, 2009

The Perfect Christmas Gift to “Pay It Forward”.  Career Coaching!

12-9-2009,  by Doug Brogdon, Principal at CHANGE in PLAN Career Services (www.changeinplan.com)

In today’s economic environment, we are faced with a big predicament of the “Haves” and the “Have-Nots”.  Some have work, and others do not.  Some of the ones that do, are hanging on by a string, are not happy, or are dramatically underpaid and under appreciated.  There are small business owners that are trying to stay afloat and others that are cutting their staff.  For a large group of Americans, Christmas is going to be hard.

If you are one of the few that are successful, enjoy what you do, and have a caring spirit, there is something you can do to “pay it forward”.  If you can’t offer them a job, offer them the gift of Career Coaching.  If you are an employer, and do not provide Outplacement Services to the ones you need to part ways with, consider that as a way to give a helping hand.  Christmas is a great time of year, we are celebrating the greatest gift to mankind.  So if you can afford it, and feel moved to help a family member, neighbor, co-worker or friend, give them a gift certificate to a good Career Coach and help them get back on their feet.  It is tax deductible and full of good cheer!

Merry Christmas!

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