In Episode 54 of the Wandering But Not Lost Podcast, co-hosts Matt Emerson and Jan O’Brien share how to achieve LinkedIn Mastery amping up your profile into All-Star status and a few key points about connecting on this powerful online platform and in Wandering Zen, Matt takes a road trip into the desert of San Diego County and visits the little oasis of Borrego Springs.


Key Points & Takeaways


WBNL 52: Enhancing Your LinkedIn Profile

DOWNLOAD Our Free All-Star LinkedIn Tutorial


LinkedIn is the definitive professional networking and business development platform. It is the place to showcase you, your brand, and your business to peers, influencers, and prospective clients. LinkedIn is a powerful search engine and searchable database of information, people, companies, and groups. It is imperative to optimize your profile for searching by included your targeted keywords throughout your profile. Don’t “overstuff” your profile with keywords, but rather integrate them into the copy in a natural and readable way.

  1. Branded Background Image
  2. Professional Headshot
  3. Keywords in Headline 200 characters – use the
  4. Client-Focused & Keyword Optimized Summary
  5. Contact & Personal Info
  6. Custom profile URL
  7. Add Text Content and Media to Summary, Education & Experience
  8. Featured Skills & Endorsements
  9. Get Recommendations! Give to get
  10. Accomplishments
  11. Interests

Privacy Settings
Confirm your privacy settings and ensure you have selected that everyone can see your email, public profile if this is your choice. Also, confirm all your privacy setting while you are there!


Let’s connect on LinkedIn if we aren’t already:

Jan’s Profile

Matt’s profile

Reach Your Peak: Strategic Connections with LinkedIn

  • Build a REALTOR referral network
  • School/University connections – connect with agents and prospective clients that attended the same school(s) as you
  • Surname-  Search for people in your area that share the same last name
  • Hometown – Find connections from your hometown
  • Your Previous Career– Connect with people who you worked with in the past.
  • Demographic (Who – Military, Seniors, First Time Home Buyers, Investors….)
  • Hobby/Skills/Niche

Your Network and Degrees of Connection

On LinkedIn, people in your network are called connections. Your network is made up of your 1st-degree, 2nd-degree, 3rd-degree connections, and fellow members of your LinkedIn groups.

1st-degree – People you’re directly connected to because you’ve accepted their invitation to connect, or they’ve accepted your invitation. You’ll see a 1st degree icon next to their name in search results and on their profile. You can contact them by sending a message on LinkedIn.

2nd-degree – People who are connected to your 1st-degree connections. You’ll see a 2nd degree icon next to their name in search results and on their profile. You can send them an invitation by clicking Connect or contact them through an InMai

3rd-degree – People who are connected to your 2nd-degree connections. You’ll see a 3rd degree icon next to their name in search results and on their profile.

  • If their full first and last names are displayed, you can send them an invitation by clicking Connect.
  • If only the first letter of their last name is displayed, clicking Connect isn’t an option but you can contact them through an InMail.

Note: InMails are only available in Premium accounts. You are given a certain amount of InMails to use every month based on your subscription type with opportunity to purchase more.

Fellow members of your LinkedIn Groups – These people are considered part of your network because you are members of the same group. You’ll see a Group icon next to their name in search results and on their profile. You can contact them by sending a message on LinkedIn or through the group.

Out of Network – LinkedIn members who fall outside the categories listed above. You can contact them through an InMail.

Wandering Zen: Wandering Borrego Springs


If you find yourself in San Diego County and have a little extra time on your hands, you must treat yourself to a side trip out to the little oasis of Borrego Springs.  It is not as posh or hip as other more famous desert communities in Southern California but it makes up for that in natural beauty, rugged art, and the very best grapefruit on planet earth.  That is a pretty huge endorsement, and this Wanderer stands behind his words!  Join me on a road trip to Borrego Springs.

A Diamond in the Rough

Pacific Ocean Matt Emerson Wandering But Not LostI may be a bit biased because I am a native California boy, but the more I wander in this great state the more I am taken aback by the diversity that it delivers.  In a state that offers up Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Lassen, Pinnacles, Redwood, Channel Islands, Death Valley, & Joshua Tree National Parks along with countless National Monuments and scenic byways it can be easy to miss a diamond in the rough now and then.

My sweet pea and I make the trek out to the Anza-Borrego Valley a few times a year.  We love road trips and this is the perfect day trip for anyone that lives in or visits Southern California.  Borrego Springs is located about 90 miles northeast of San Diego and 150 miles Southeast of Los Angeles.  The great thing about this particular trip is that getting there is a big part of the experience.

More than likely you will be traveling from the west so for a stretch of the beginning of your adventure you may be driving along the Pacific, as youPalomar Observatory Matt Emerson Wandering But Not Lost turn eastward you enter the foothills of the Peninsular Range and a fertile growing region that is packed with avocados and citrus, before too long you near the turn-off for Mt. Palomar, one of the highest points in the Cleveland National Forest and home of the Palomar Observatory.  There you’ll find the Hale Telescope. a 200-inch telescope which was the world’s largest from 1949 until 1992.  There are few nice hikes in the area and at an elevation, over 6,000 feet you’ll often catch some snow during the winter months.

Julian Matt Emerson Wandering But Not LostFrom there you’ll pass through another beautiful valley, this one of wild grasses and livestock, then up a winding hillside into the quaint mining town of Julian.  This very touristy stop is home to a yearly apple festival and you’ll see many of the visitors walking around with their whole pies no matter what time of year you visit.  They also have a surprisingly wonderful daffodil festival each spring where locals, many of them children, grow and display their flowers.  Once you hit Julian, you are still about 50 miles from Borrego Springs and you start your descent down into the Anza-BorregoJulian Matt Emerson Wandering But Not Lost Valley. 

To many, the desert is boring and void of life, but to me, it is filled with color and bustles with activity – you just have to take the time to look for it.  During this leg of your road trip, you will enter Anza-Borrego Desert State Park which is made up of more than 600,000 acres of canyons, washes, ridges, and peaks.  As you turn off of CA 78 on to Yaqui Pass Rd (S3) you are starting to get close.  Borrego Springs is the only California town that is completely surrounded by a state park. That is just one thing that makes this town unique.

Borrego Springs Matt Emerson Wandering But Not LostThe desert is rugged, arid, and you’ve been on the road for a while.  If you start seeing dinosaurs, mammoths, mythical serpents, or other denizens of the desert – don’t fear – you aren’t losing it.  Throughout the area, you’ll be treated to the artwork of Ricardo Breceda.  The attention to detail on these metal sculptures is incredible and he has placed over 130 of them for you to discover, some right on the side of the road, others a bit farther off the beaten path.  A map with the GPS locations of all the sculptures is available at the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association desert store, which is one block west of downtown’s Christmas Circle.  

The town itself is a modest place, with art galleries, small cafes and a few places to stay.  It’s quaint and quiet and you won’t need to spend too much time to wander the whole place.  Back in the day, when my family was on one of our summer road trips, we would have labeled Borrego Springs as a ‘Blink Town’, you know, the place that if you had the misfortune of blinking while driving through, you might have missed it!

Not far out of town is the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center.  This is a must stop so that you can get the lay of the land.  There are great hikes in the area and at the visitor center, you can talk to a Ranger to get all you need to know about the current weather conditions and the best places to take your trek.  One of our favorites is Palm Canyon. This trail is three-miles round trip walk and features a native palm oasis at the half-way point.  If you are lucky, you may even get a glimpse of bighorn sheep.

Anza-Borrego State Park  Matt Emerson Wandering But Not Lost If you are feeling adventurous (and have a 4-wheel drive) you can explore a sandy wash out to a landscape that looks you have somehow been transported to Mars.  We must have spent an hour or so just sitting there taking it all in.  Once again, the best bet is to talk to one of the Rangers at the visitor center for directions and conditions.

The night sky here is said to be one of the best anywhere and the locals are dedicated to protecting the night sky from light pollution.  We’ve yet to be in the area after dark but it is on our list to experience sometime.

Perhaps one of the most spectacular annual events that mother nature brings to the Anza-Borrego Valley is the blooming of the wildflowers.  It is beautiful.  This explosion of color across the desert floor is stunning and it goes on and one for miles.  A few years ago because of higher than normal rainfall the area experienced a Super Bloom which brought a wildflower season unlike any for years.  It was truly amazing and we were so fortunate to have seen that, but even in the aridest years, there are flowers to be found.  With the rainfall that we’ve already had this year, it’s looking like it is going to be another great one for wildflower lovers.  Even last week when we drove through, a few were already starting to bloom.

Seley Ranches Matt Emerson Wandering But Not LostI’ll wind this up by restating my claim that you will find the very best grapefruit in the world here.  As a matter of fact, this past week when we set out on our trip we were just planning on going to Mt Palomar for a hike.  While we were up on the mountain we remembered that it is grapefruit season, which then made us think of Seley Ruby Red Grapefruit which then caused us to shift priorities.  We bailed on our hike and we bailed on the apple pie and headed straight to the Seley Ranch.

Seley Ranches is known for its trademark super sweet Seley Reds.  This family-owned ranch was founded in 1957 and have enjoyed a loyal following for their delicious grapefruit from an area that most will find hard to believe but is the ideal growing conditions for citrus.  The very best part of this experience is that once you locate the dusty desert road where the Seley Ranches can be found you will not find a huge commercial store, not even a small farmers market, just a lonely unmanned wooden stand with bags and bags of grapefruit awaiting your arrival.  They go for $3.50 a bag and you simply place your money in a small lock box.  The honor system at its finest.  It harkens back to a time when things were simpler and less hectic.  Truly a place of wandering zen.Seley Ranches Matt Emerson Wandering But Not Lost

You can head back the way you came or take the beautiful and curvy Montezuma Valley Rd (S22) up out of the valley toward Warner Springs and back to the cities to the west.  As I write this post I’m already looking forward to our next trip back.  From the shores of the Pacific, into the pine-studded forest, through grasslands and foothills and orchards, with dessert, desert, and the very best grapefruit on the planet!

Seley Ruby Redds Matt Emerson Wandering But Not Lost

seley ranches

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center

Borrego Springs

Julian, CA

Palomar Observatory

Mentioned in the Episode (Resources & Links)












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