Judy Ryan is a consultant, trainer, author, columnist, coach, speaker and expert in human systems. She founded LifeWork Systems in 2002. Judy makes what is abstract understandable and operational so that people adopt positive behavior changes and form new, lasting and productive habits. Her purpose is to create a world in which all people love their lives, including at work. She frequently contributes a variety of content to several platforms.
Judy’s book What’s the Deal With Workplace Culture Change? was published in October 2015. She writes a national column “Emotional Intelligence” for the Women’s Journals across the US and a column “The Extraordinary Workplace” for the St. Louis Small Business Monthly. Judy also writes and publishes blog articles on a regular basis. During our Coffee with the Experts conversation, she revealed some of her methods for producing consistent content.
Communications is at the center of the LifeWork Systems. How does your writing support your business?
Writing about what I am learning and teaching is a way to introduce my work to people. They don’t always know what human systems are. I help them to look at and often challenge their thoughts and programmed ideas, which brings about opportunities to feel and act differently. My writing allows me to help people quickly solve important problems they are facing and receive a direct experience of the value I provide.
Where do you get ideas for your books and articles?
I never dreamed I’d have a 2nd book underway and over 100 articles (so far). I am inspired to write about what is happening in my own life at the time an article is due, or related to local and national events or patterns prevalent for my customers. My first book What’s the Deal with Workplace Culture Change? was written in response to basic questions that business owners and leaders frequently ask related to workplace culture and leadership development. I realized they needed specific understanding, processes and action plans in order to assess and make positive changes.
With such a busy schedule, how do you find time to produce quality content?
It helps that I owe one article every month to St. Louis Small Business Monthly (since 2012), one to The Women’s Journals every other month (since 2006) and at least one article or blog per quarter to Experts for Entrepreneurs. This timing and clarity around timing and length keeps me producing a slow, steady and consistent amount of written content. I also videotape many of my training programs to use for eLearning modules and can divide these into many smaller segments for podcasts and videos to share in posts and on my website. The trick to producing quality and quantity of content in a busy life is regular, manageable commitments.
What are the most effective tools and resources for content distribution?
I recently discovered that providing full-length articles on LinkedIn Pulse has brought me a whole new group of readers. I also find that having a social media intern or employee is key to consistency and daily presence on all the major media outlets. Offering to write for journals on topics that are current and atypical often results in their widespread distribution. Most recently, my publisher suggested I offer my book as part of a speaking engagement contract. This is a great way to distribute content to the right audiences. You’d be surprised how many people are looking to view and distribute good information.
What are some of your favorite business books?
I have two that come to mind even though I have so many I appreciate. Patrick Lencione wrote many but his book, Getting Naked is one of my favorites. And no, it’s not about hot-tubbing! It’s about providing value immediately, jumping in to help, and being real and authentic about what you know and don’t know rather than trying to be “the infallible expert.” The other book is called The Four Agreements. For my work, this is just a great reference book for people, and it’s directly related to their human systems. It helps each to think, feel, speak and act effectively in very significant ways. While this book is considered spiritual, it is very practical and sets a great foundation in place for what matters in achieving new and positive outcomes between people and within people.
What quotes inspire you?
I love quotes and therefore this is the hardest of all the questions! I could name so many! Here are four of my favorites and why:
The first is The Man in the Arena (this version is an adaptation). I like this quote because it reminds me of how noble and meaningful is life when people risk all to live their purpose and have the courage to risk failure. It inspires me to do my best.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the one who points out how the strong one stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends oneself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if failing, at least fails while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
The second one is by Goethe. I love it because it reminds me that I must be the cause of what happens not at the effect of what happens. It’s about commitment and how when one is aligned and committed, THEN Providence moves.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” – Goethe
These third and fourth quotes are from Mr. Rogers of all people. I never cared a lot for his children’s show but I like who HE was. I like the following quotes because they remind me that every person, no matter who they are, matter. The second one makes me think about how big God is and that we have the opportunity and obligation to be “God with skin on.”
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” -Fred Rogers
“At the center of the Universe is a loving heart that continues to beat and that wants the best for every person. Anything that we can do to help foster the intellect and spirit and emotional growth of our fellow human beings, that is our job. Those of us who have this particular vision us to continue against all odds. Life is for service.” – Fred Rogers
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