We had the good fortune of connecting with Alan Bush and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alan, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
1. When given an opportunity to do something you aren’t necessarily comfortable with, take it. I’ve gotten promotions and done jobs that I had no prior training in, because the opportunity presented itself and I volunteered. This gains new skill sets and puts you outside of your comfort zone.
2. Be the last to speak in a meeting. Listen to what others have to say and base your contributions on the collective.
3. Network – stay in touch with former colleagues. You never know which one of them may help you in your journey (and vice-versa). As of this writing, LinkedIn is my favorite networking tool.
4. When starting a job, do it the way they want you to for 3 months. Months 4 through 6, see if there are ways to make it more efficient…often they didn’t see something that could be done a different way. Month 6 bring up your method to your supervisor. If they are supportive of your ingenuity, you are in the right place and likely will be first in line for promotion.
5. Don’t take life too seriously. Find humor in simple things.
6. Good critique is not an attack on your character. Take it as learning opportunity and not too personally. Own up to mistakes; good managers will appreciate your honesty.
7. My grandfather once told me – “You know what the secret to life is? Keep movin’.” This was some years after the passing of his wife (my grandmother) of 60 years. He meant that in many ways – physically keep your body moving as he would still take walks along the harbor, go about his business as he always did. Mentally, keep feeding your mind, read (he always read the morning paper), listen to and appreciate music, always be learning. Emotionally keep in a good place – it’s ok to have pain and in fact, steer into it, as it may help you gain strength and courage later; he always kept my grandmother’s wedding ring on a chain around his neck after she passed. Nothing wrong with pain of loss and this converts into a fondness eventually.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There are moments of clarity in which we connect the dots to form what we do and more importantly, who we are. My journey was not easy or straight forward, but during the random jobs, the dots then got connected which lead me to an elevation of self.
On a personal note, I was a shy, unassuming kid and was relatively shy still as a young adult. If you told me 20 years ago that I would be a University instructor and hosting podcasts, webinars, guest lectures and panels in front of hundreds of people, I would have thought you were insane. It wasn’t easy! I started to see the pattern of how I got to this point. Specific milestones in my career are what I call Constellation Moments – those moments where I was able to look back at all the light and dark spots and form a new understanding; essentially “see the shape of me” which allowed me to move to a new level.
The pattern that emerges from your constellation is the collection of ideas and experiences that shape the next phase of your journey. I began to notice this with the friends I made and the career paths I was set on. Once I understood this moment, it then propelled me to a next level which merged a combination of experiences into a “toolkit” rather than using one tool at a time. I was able to merge those individual skills into a unified discipline. Those disciplines then merge into expertise. These expertise merge into oneness. This goes true for one’s business plans, marketing plans and life plans – they are a collection of your experiences (either directly experienced or learned from others).
Here’s a quick overview of my career path/journey – mind you these are just the jobs, not counting the eventual public speaking, guest lecturing, music production, etc.
· CONSTELLATION MOMENT – Post College
o Customer Service
· Retail Cashier / Customer Service – Worked for University of Southern California (which I attended) as a bookstore clerk, then supervisor – Los Angeles CA
· Computer Store Coordinator for Health Sciences Campus – organized and helped stock, custom order and deliver computers for alternate campus at USC – Los Angeles
· Buyer – Processed custom orders working with Dell on educational departmental orders for USC – Los Angeles
· Bartender – North Carolina
o Office and Administration
· Office Temp Contractor – Cypress CA
· Research Coordinator and Executive Assistant – Los Angeles, CA
· Administrative Assistant promoted to Data Coordinator – LA
· Assistant Asset Manager promoted to Financial Analyst – Irvine
· Loan Officer – San Diego
· CONSTELLATION MOMENT
o Internet Marketing
· SEO Project Manager .
· Senior SEO Project Manager
· SEM Analyst (PPC)
o Director Level
· Director of SEO
· VP of Strategy – Ignite Visibility – Current
· CONSTELLATION MOMENT
o Educator & Public Speaker – Current
· Instructor of SEO & Marketing – UCSD Extension
· Instructor of SEO Tools & Analytics – UCSD Extension
· Instructor of Web Analytics – UCSD Extension
Instructor of Onsite and Offsite SEO – University of San Diego
The bright spots and the darkness behind them shape your story.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live 2 blocks from the ocean so walks along the beach and the pier as well as a visit to the Sunset Cliffs needs to be on the agenda. I’m a bit of a foodie so outside of the beach trips, OB Noodle House, The Joint Sushi and Tapas and 3rd Corner for wine needs to be on the agenda just in my neighborhood. My excitement is spurred more by great conversation and seeing sites / sights, so outside of my wonderful neighborhood, delving into the mountains, beaches and small pocket places is the way to enjoy the time.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Everyone who is in my orbit. Their gravity shapes the journey.