Thursday, July 26, 2012

Writers and Writing: Ken Owens

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Branding Your Character: Yes, it is up to You

Ken Owens, a human potential consultant in the areas of motivation, sales, and personal development, has written a wonderful little book entitled, BrandingYour Character, Living a Dynamic Life. Ken has more than 18 years of corporate and small business management experience. As an ordained minister, he has worked with many individuals, groups, corporations and non-profit organizations. Ken blends his corporate sales and management experience with his 15 years of crisis counseling and training expertise.
The book is nine short easy-to-read chapters on subjects ranging from what shapes your character to the ways you can take small steps to strengthen what you already have, and have an impact on others.

In our conversation Ken came across as one of those naturally upbeat individuals who sees the sunny side of life. Even clouds have a purpose. How you respond to them is a reflection of your character.

Writer’s Block and Ken Owens Q&A:

WB: Let’s begin by you telling the audience about yourself and what prompted you to write, Branding Your Character, Livinga Dynamic Life.
KO: My background includes an associate in liberal arts, bachelor in business, several master level certificates in hypnotherapy and counseling and I’m an ordained minister. I was raised in the Midwest and was an Eagle Boy Scout and 4-H leader, all which helped me with a good foundation for character. The biggest motivation for me writing a book on the topic of character was and still is – turning on the TV every night and seeing the lack of character in the news, on TV shows, in business and in our elected officials.

WB: In the book you say that a man’s character is his fate. Tell us what you mean by that.
KO: A person’s character sets the stage for their destiny or fate in life. People with good character – like Mother Teresa, Oprah, Bill Gates all are great role models and give back to society – are of service to others. People with bad character – the scamming, cheating criminals – like Bernie Madoff or the young gunman in Colorado from a couple days ago – are bad roles models and hurt people. The actions of their character will determine their outcome in life – successful and happy OR lonely and in jail. Or in a more religious context – their final outcome would be heaven or hell. 

WB: In Leveraging Your Brand you emphasize understanding one's positive and negative traits. Talk a little about that.
KO: The concept of branding in the business world defines your product or service’s recognition and reputation in the marketplace. A positive brand means more sales and more money. A negative brand leads to no sales and bankruptcy. The brand recognition of Coca Cola is worth $70.5 billion. That is just what the name or brand Coca Cola is worth, which has nothing to do with all their inventory, trucks, factories, etc. The same is true for a person – your positive character will mean more friends, higher standing in the community, a better job and more money. It also means more peace, balance and harmony. 

WB: The Purpose of Life is a Life of Purpose. Talk about how different people express that and why it is important to define one’s purpose.
KO: What is your purpose in life? That can be a very hard question to answer to most people. Your purpose is your roadmap which will guide you through life. If you don’t have a map or a purpose, then how can you reach any destination? Some other words which also help to define your purpose would be to ask yourself:
  • What is your aim?
  • Your intention?
  • Your goal?
  • Your mission?
Just to clarify – money is not a purpose. Money is the outcome or reward for having a positive purpose in life. Your purpose is the drive that gets you up every morning. There are positive purpose careers and negative purpose careers that fit your overall guiding mission. Know that the wealthiest people make their money being of service to others – doctors, lawyers, small business owners. While those in negative purpose careers take from others – bums, con artists, computer hackers.  

WB: I love the idea that imagination is more important than knowledge. Talk a little about what that means to you and why you included a chapter about it in your book.
KO: Nothing in life happens without it first being imagined in the mind of its creator. No product, service, business or opportunity became a reality without someone first having a spark of imagination in their mind before putting action behind that thought to make it a reality. Imagination is the foundation to everything. Your imagination is a key component to developing your character. Do you imagine ways to scam elderly people out of money or new concepts to put into a book which will enrich the lives of many readers? Too many people don’t follow through with their sparks of imagination and stay stuck in a rut throughout life, while others put their imaginations to work and soar to new heights and truly do make their dreams come true!

WB: This is a thought provoking concept: Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate. Can you elaborate on that?
KO: This chapter is true, but also a light hearted look at what most of us feel. A recent scientific study, which I talk about in the book, found out that we lose 50 percent of our friends every seven years. Our friends shift and rotate and that is OK in life. Our jobs, hobbies and interests change and when they do – it allows us to open up to a new group of friends; while some older ones just fade out of our life. That is a healthy and natural occurrence. BUT on the flip side, how many listeners wonder why they can never get rid of those pesty energy-sucking enemies out of their lives? They just seem to accumulate and never diminish. I talk in-depth about why we may keep some of those enemies still in our lives. The other major concept in this chapter is the truth behind the old saying, “You are judged by the caliber of your friends.” Be careful because a component of your character will be the perception others see in the group of friends that we hang around with.

WB: My favorite, hands down is the chapter entitled Nothing Will Work Unless You Do. Talk about that and the reaction people have had to your take on the subject.
KO: Some don’t like it because I tell them that if they want a better life that they have to get up off their butts and do something about it. Too many people are stuck in the mentality that all they have to do is lay around and others will take care of them. Look at the work ethic of immigrants who come to this country and how they work circles around USA folks because they want a better life for their families. Those same opportunities are here for all of us, we just need to go get them.

WB: Faith makes things possible should be a given. What are the obstacles people face when there is a lack of faith in themselves and their goals?
KO: The faith I am talking about in the book is not a religious context of faith, but more an esoteric context – that inner unseen knowing that each of us has. And having the confidence, security and dedication to trust and listen to that inner guiding force. A lot of people lack a secure sense of self-confidence, which is their biggest obstacle. Too many people look to others to justify or define who they are instead of having a deep-seated faith to know who they are and be comfortable and confident. Also, a lot of people lack the faith or trust in the unseen world of possibilities that lies ahead of them. They stay stuck in what they think is a security of the past. To grow, one must have faith in the future and let go of the past. 

WB: Explain what you mean by “Character is a victory, not a gift.”
KO: A good analogy would be to look at the upcoming Olympics in London. When a medal is placed around the neck of an athlete for placing in their sport, it is a victory. They have earned that medal from years of hard work, practice, sacrificing fun activities – because they had a goal – a purpose to become a world class Olympian. It was not given to them as a gift for something they did not accomplish. To me, character is the same thing – it takes years to develop your character and you earn it; it isn’t something that someone can just give to you. 

WB: What exactly is a human potential consultant and what do you do?
KO: That is my spin on the term coach or coaching. I love to educate and inspire people to grow and become a better person. On a business level, I love to help businesses expand their products and services while bringing value to their customers. I mainly do this by one-on-one counseling sessions with individuals or larger group corporate trainings for businesses.

WB: Final comments?
KO: If anyone has any personal comments or questions for me, they can reach me at . And remember that the children of today will become the leaders of tomorrow. They need good character role models to help them lay their foundation in life.

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