This is a guest post from Kendra P. Turner, a community relations consultant in Asheville, N.C. She also happens to be a great friend of mine. To say we have had some fun over the years would be a huge understatement. Read other guest posts here.

Reorienting Toward Success

Kendra Turner

Photo by poprock photography

We are surrounded by change, and, while some welcome change, for most it is difficult. Deciding to change makes it easier, but more often than not, change is foisted upon us (discontinued items, re-engineered jobs, break-ups, etc.) with little consideration for where we go next. With more competition for jobs, significant others and even tickets to see Magic Mike, what better time to consider replacing our standard external, deficiency orientation for an asset-based orientation?

“That’s great, lady,” you say, “but what in blue blazes (Southern Grandma-ism, for the uninitiated) do you mean?”

Hold onto your balance ball seats and stand-up desks, folks -- and you, there…pause your episode of The Talk (we know you're out there, Talk viewers – how else is that still on TV?) -- I’ll tell you.

Consider the following concepts and questions. Applying them may be the edge you need to achieve success in any arena -- personal or professional, familiar or foreign. [More in-depth and replicable application can be found in Building Communities from the Inside Out.]

Take the leap from deficiency to asset-based orientation

Identifying what we CAN do with what we DO have enables us to re frame and revise how we define success.

  1. Think about deficiency orientation in an external and short-term context: “What don’t I have now that I want and how can I get someone to give it to me?”
  2. Think of asset orientation in an internal and long-term context: “What do I already have available that could be better used to meet current needs and build capacity for future sustainability?”

This context helps maintain focus and weather the storms encountered when we branch out of our comfort zones and into our learning zones. [More on where learning happens]

Reintroduce to reorient

We often aren’t even sure how we got where we are. By reintroducing what drives us to satisfaction, not distraction, we have an opportunity to reorient ourselves. Consider:

  1. When am I happiest and how am I preventing myself from having that more often? We tend to blame others for things that don’t go our way, but we miss opportunities to change the outcomes. [Check out Power Genes by Maggie Craddock for some great insight that works in both personal and professional settings]
  2. Do I keep using the same approach and getting an inadequate result? The customer isn’t always right -- but they are always the customer. Figure out your brand and how to use it to most effectively interact with your boss, co-worker or prospective girlfriend’s BFF. Once you know your brand and make decisions to grow it, improved results are soon to follow. [For more on your brand, read Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling to improve your brand, interactions and success rate]

True success requires a series of failures

It doesn't matter what career path, relationship or zip code you chose to pursue…you just have to take the leap. If the stars don’t align this time (or the next) it will be okay. It may not be perfect, maybe not even good, but it will be okay. Remember to:

  • Approach things from an asset-based orientation
  • Seek out the learning zone
  • Engage in honest self-evaluation
  • Enter interactions with mindful intention

If you try those things consistently, any leap resulting in a thud will be met by a hand or two to help you up, dust you off and urge you to keep at it. You never know -- you just might fly.

Kendra P. Turner ( is a community relations consultant, with 18 years of PR experience in a ridiculous breadth of arenas, from fine dining and Congressional election campaign management to public and private sector community outreach. She has also been known to save babies from certain peril and can produce a surprisingly lovely meal from any three items in your kitchen cabinet. Kendra is currently taking her own leap into a new role as VP of Business Development for a growing family of companies in Asheville.

Kendra Turner & Margot Carmichael Lester

Kendra and me, circa 1998