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She is in Pain and Fighting a Hard Battle

This is an unusual story. It deviates from the career and job search articles I normally write, but life happens. It will cause you to pause and reflect on some of what could be going on in the lives of some of the people around us.

I had just dropped my husband off at the train station for a trip into Toronto. On my return I stopped at the grocery store for one item. I didn’t need a flyer, but it’s customary for me to pick one up as I am entering the store. The flyer stand was empty, but I saw one tucked far inside a shopping cart, requiring me to put in the quarter to retrieve it. I went straight to pick up the item I needed, but it was sold out. You are now wondering where I am going with all this detail, but bear with me.

Since I didn’t find what I went for, I decided to flip through the pages of the flyer anyway to see what else I could purchase. As I got to the back page I saw this handwritten message:

“God brought me into this world as everyone else. What’s my mistake in it? How am I supposed to be blamed for this? I have kids. I want to live for them; watch them grow into good human beings. I am really sorry if God made a mistake by bringing me into this world. What’s my mistake where no one loves me!!

My existence doesn’t affect[s] anyone!!

Life is like an extra baggage!! Fed up of it since last 12 years. I want to be loved by someone. Don’t I deserve to be loved!!

What’s the point of living!!

My In-laws hate[s] me!!

My husband hates me!!

I hate myself!! I hate myself!!”

Holy! My head started spinning as I re-read the note. I paid for the items and left. As I entered my vehicle, I thought of the pain that that woman was (and is) going through, wondered where she was at that moment, and said a prayer for her. This popular quote: “Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle”, kept going through my mind. Wouldn’t a kind word or a shoulder to cry on have eased her pain that day?

We interact with people every day: at work, on the train, in the mall, at the grocery store, and at home. Some have smiles on their faces; others don’t, yet we are not always aware of what’s going on in their lives.

As a career coach, I collaborate with people facing career and job search challenges, whether it is a resume that isn’t communicating value; difficulty landing a job after several interviews; lack of career progression in the organization, or someone who is stuck, confused and, yes, fed up.

I have also had individuals contacting me for job search services, but early into the conversation we both discover they are dealing with issues that need to be resolved before we proceed. While not often, there have been cases where the issues are far outside my professional competence. In such cases I would refer the individual to a therapist or mental health professional trained to handle such matters.

In instances where the problem is not as extreme, we will work on them. Sometimes it’s a self-esteem issue because they feel they are not good enough. One woman actually told me she felt she was suffering from Imposter Syndrome. At other times, someone’s confidence has been shaken because they are not nailing the interview and keeps missing out on job opportunities. These individuals begin to second guess themselves:

  • “Why me?”
  • “Why did my last assignment end within three months, instead of the six they had promised?”
  • “Why am I not getting the jobs even after so many interviews? Could it be they didn’t like me, or was I not a good fit?”
  • “How come I was acting in the position for more than a year, and they hired someone else?”

These are real life battles and a lot of baggage for some people to carry. How can we help? Or, how about you? Do you see yourself in any of the above scenarios? Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Are you having thoughts like the woman who wrote that note? If the latter, seek professional help, starting with your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), if there is one. If not, find someone you can talk to, or search for local organizations that offer counselling support.

By this I hope you now understand why this article did not focus on the job search or resume writing, and why I went into details at the beginning. There was probably a reason I went to great lengths to get the flyer even though I didn’t need it. I could’ve walked straight in the grocery store, picked up the item and left. But, probably it was to give me something else to write about outside my usual career topics. I don’t know.

Life happens outside of our jobs and careers. Sometimes we need to pause from our own busyness, or a focus on self, and become aware of what could be happening to people around us, and even those we don’t know.

That woman who told her story on that supermarket flyer was crying out and sharing her pain. She could be a family member, a coworker, a neighbour, or friend. We don’t know. What we do know is that we need to help carry one another’s burdens. Sometimes it’s as simple as a short conversation, a listening ear, zipping our lips before a hurtful word escapes, or taking the time to be kind. Kindness doesn’t cost anything.

A lot of anxiety and stress happens at the workplace. Considering many people spend many hours of each day in that space, it would be a great place to start being empathetic. The next time you are tempted to criticize someone, turn that criticism into kindness. Just think that this person could be having an ‘iceberg’ moment; a lot more going on beneath the surface. If a coworker snaps at you, invite them for coffee and listen, even in silence, or let them guide the conversation. If you are a manager and feel the urge to call out a staff member because they didn’t meet your expectation, turn the moment into a coachable one. Ask them a few questions and listen attentively to their responses:

  1. What is your dream?
  2. What motivates you?
  3. What would make your role in this department/company more fulfilling?
  4. Do you think you are currently performing up to your potential? Why or why not?
  5. What does success mean for you? What would a successful life look and feel like?
  6. If you could have anything in the world what would it be?
  7. What do you want the rest of your life to be about?
  8. Are you feeling overwhelmed? How do you release stress?
  9. What do you do to look after yourself on a regular basis?
  10. How do you enjoy yourself?

You might not have to ask or get an answer to all the questions, but that’s not the point. You shifted gears and took the time to make a difference in that person’s life.

On a scale of 1-10, life is not a perfect circle. There are ups and downs. If you are at a point where you want to take stock of your life or career, why not sit with a notepad in a quiet place and take a look at your life to determine what could be contributing to or impeding your progress or overall happiness? Find out what’s working in your family, job, career, friendships, finance, health, etc. and what’s not working. Rank them on a scale of 1-10. If they are low in most areas, it’s time to reach out for help from a trusted friend or a coach.

If you would like a free copy of an assessment tool – Brighten Up Your Life – which will indicate what a happy, satisfying life might look like for you in several areas, send me an email at daisy[at]thewrightcareer.com, and I will gladly make it available to you. (This tool will only work if you are committed to using it.)

In the meantime, take care of yourself and be kind to everyone you meet. They might just be fighting a very hard battle.

Need a quick chat about your career or job search? Give me a call pronto!

How to Get the Job You Want

“Only those who can see the invisible can accomplish the impossible!” – Patrick Snow

Lisa was the subject of my earlier post. What I didn’t mention is the depth of our conversation. She had dropped by to give me an update on her year of personal development. In late 2015, she took a sabbatical from ‘being in the dumps’ and decided that 2016 was going to be her ‘Personal Development’ year.

She had taken time off years ago for child-minding reasons, and was ready to get back into the workforce, but finding opportunities commensurate with her background and experience was proving difficult.

At the beginning of 2016, she harnessed all the resources she could get: DVDs, books, face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, webinars, and, of course, joined my Let’s GROW Project. We also continued our coaching check-ins, which started three years ago.

A day before stopping by, she had sent a Whatsapp message that said, “I got the job!” The job is with a well-known organization with offices around the globe, and she was thrilled. What intrigued me most about her approach were the unusual steps she took to get the job.

Nearing the end of her first interview, she was asked if she had any questions. She said, “I asked one of the questions you usually recommend: If I were the successful candidate, what would you like to see me accomplish within my first 30 days?” This time she chose 90 days.

By the look on their faces, the panel was probably not expecting that question, but after a few awkward moments, they responded. She made some notes, went home, and developed a 3-page list of her 90-day goals, which she sent to the panellists. She was invited for a second interview where the majority of the time was spent discussing her goal list. She felt very confident after leaving the office that day.

On her return home, she sent a thank-you note, but took the process one step further. She took out a family photograph, gathered her ‘sensory images’ (I call them ‘inspirational stones’), that were labeled Faith, Hope, Believe, and Success. She then bought a small Lucky Bamboo plant and arranged all the items as if they were on her desk at the company’s office.

 

 

Each day she would visualize herself at the desk, working, speaking with her new boss and coworkers, smiling and answering the phone. She said she didn’t have time to think about her competitors – the other people who had been interviewed for the job. She just focused on seeing herself in the role. Two weeks later she received the call that the job was hers.

If you are a skeptic you may scoff at all this. You are probably wondering what role, if any, the ‘lucky bamboo’ and the inspirational stones played in Lisa’s success. That’s not the point. Whether one is a student of Law of Attraction (whatever you focus on you attract), or one sees the value of prayer, or setting intentions, it is true that one’s focus determines one’s reality. Or, as I reminded some ladies in a recent Career Workshop, “Ideas or thoughts become things.”

Not only did Lisa visualize and surround herself with the sensory images, but she did the work that was required! She prepared for the interviews, maintained a positive ‘can-do’ mindset, took the time to research the needs of the company and set goals to support the company. Action was key! Her year of personal development paid off, and on January 9, this highly-qualified professional will start a new phase of her life.

As she said, “My Personal Development immersion over the year has not only helped me professionally, but helped me improve personal and professional relationships, improved my mental health, and my overall feeling of well-being and, most importantly, given me a strong belief that I have control over my future.”

There goes a client who did not leave her professional development to chance. She decided what her reality should look like, applied laser-beam focus to it, and with sustained action, she achieved one of her goals.

With only a few hours into the New Year, are you ready to visualize your own reality? The late Jim Rohn said, “If you don’t like where you are, change it. You are not a tree!”

Want to share your thoughts?

Stop the Procrastination! Do It NOW!

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It’s amazing what coaches can learn from their clients. That’s the reason I refer to coaching as ‘a collaboration’.

Lisa dropped by during the Christmas Holidays with a lovely Poinsettia (never saw that type before), and to give me an update on her year of personal development. We have been working together for the past three years, but mostly on an ad hoc basis over the past year or so. In fact, she was one of the first persons to join the Let’s GROW Project.

Our conversation was primarily about the tools and resources she had harnessed and been using during the year to get to where she is now.

As the conversation went on, she took out a wad of cards on which she had written affirmations that she uses throughout her day. Since I am a believer in prayer, in affirmations, law of attraction (whatever the label), I wasn’t surprised when she took out her stack.

Of all the cards she showed me, the one that got my attention was “Do it NOW!” There it was in bold print, sticking out like a sore thumb, pointing directly at me, the procrastinator.

As much as I hate to admit it, I do procrastinate. If it’s not a reluctance to getting my administrative tasks done, it’s some personal stuff, like folding laundry. Here’s an example of a time when I procrastinated. Although the idea to write my first book, No Canadian Experience, Eh? was percolating in my head for a while, it took me 10 years to finally bring it to life. It was all IDEA, but no ACTION!

When I saw Lisa’s “Do it NOW” in black and white, it resonated with me. As soon as she left, I decided to put the words into action. I looked at the two baskets of recently laundered clothes and told myself to “Do it NOW!” Before the end of the night, all laundry was nicely folded and put away. What an achievement! I sent Lisa a message the following morning to tell her what I had learned from her that evening.

Now, that act might appear quite small, or probably silly. After all, at some point or the other, the laundry had to be put away, but consider this on a bigger scale, or make it personal. What if it is something that you know MUST be done, but you keep procrastinating? What if it’s something you are afraid to do but you fear rejection? What if you decide to ‘Do it NOW’?

The New Year is but a few hours away. As mentioned earlier, I am not one for resolutions, so am not going to ask you to make any. In fact, if you have been a newsletter subscriber for a long time, you know I don’t encourage anyone to make resolutions. I suggest they set goals. This year, I won’t even ask anyone to set goals. The focus will be on TAKING ACTION; ‘doing it NOW’, whatever the ‘IT’ is.

What if your ‘IT’ is to:

  • Find a new job?
  • Reach out to someone in a company at which you would like to work?
  • Get a promotion?
  • Start a business?
  • Do a TED Talk?
  • Write a book. (Don’t take 10 years)?
  • Start your own Charity?
  • Experiment with freelance work if you haven’t found your ideal job yet?
  • Contact a celebrity, or someone influential for an informational interview?
  • Hire a coach (or someone you trust) to keep you accountable?
  • Travel, Sing, Act…?

Whatever your ‘IT’ is,  “Do it NOW!” Don’t put it off for another year.  Allow the phrase “Do it NOW!” to sink in until it forces you to ACT. I guarantee you will feel empowered just by taking that one small action.

Remember, “Inaction creates nothing. Action creates success.” – Stephen Richards

 

Watch for Part II:  The Case Study.

Being the Most Qualified Does Not Guarantee You the Job!

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Have you ever left an interview feeling you nailed it quite well that you would be offered the job? You wait for days (or weeks) only to hear you didn’t. I am sure you have, and it’s not a nice feeling.

The US elections are over. One candidate got hired; the other got fired, and for those of us who follow politics, we are wondering what happened. That conversation was what dominated the group coaching class with the women in my Let’s GROW Project today. One woman commented that the most qualified person did not get the job. I chimed in that 46.9% of eligible voters did not vote. Another spoke of places where people do not have the opportunity to vote. The discussion provided a segue into why being the most qualified candidate does not necessarily guarantee you the job.

Here is how the group drew an analogy with the results of the US elections and a job interview. Two candidates were shortlisted for the position and were going to be interviewed by a panel of the American public. One had a very impressive resume. She had 30+ years of experience in politics as First Lady of a state; First Lady of the United States, Senator and Secretary of State. She also had testimonials and references from high profile colleagues and celebrities. All that would easily make her a shoe-in for the job.

The other candidate didn’t have any of that. He touted himself as a businessman, and an outsider to the Washington establishment. Despite publicly passing incendiary remarks, and refusing to follow protocol, it did not stop him from getting the job. How did that happen? Answers to that question will vary, depending on which side of the political fence one is on. However, from a job search perspective we could examine the role that personal branding, messaging and the halo effect might have played:

Personal Branding and Messaging

One candidate branded herself as the one with the experience, a steady hand and an even keel temperament. She cited her many success stories and had proof that backed them up. Many on the interview panel (the electorate) believed her. In fact, she won the popular vote, but because of how the Electoral College works, she did not get the job. What went wrong? Was it her brand? Did people buy into the narrative that she was untrustworthy? What about her messaging? Was it clear to her audience that she understood their pain?

The other candidate branded himself as the outsider; the businessman who could turn around Washington. He pointed to his business successes and his ability to ‘swing deals’. Although that is debatable, it was enough to convince a good part of the electorate that he was the best person for the job. He showed himself as an astute marketer, ripping right into the heart of their core beliefs – that the status quo needed a shake up; that the other candidate was a part of the establishment and was going to offer more of the same. His messaging was effective enough where his negatives didn’t matter to his constituents.

The Halo Effect

The halo effect, as described in Wikipedia, “is a cognitive bias in which an observer’s overall impression of a person, company, brand, or product influences the observer’s feelings and thoughts about that entity’s character or properties.” This means, many on the interview panel could have been influenced positively or negatively by their perception of each candidate. If that were the case, their minds were already made up. Regardless of what the candidates said from thereon, they latched on to their first impression of each candidate.

  1. Not too many of us aspire to be a head of state, but we are very often invited to interviews. In preparing for an interview, what could we learn from the results of the US elections?
  2. A resume might not be enough. An impressive resume, LinkedIn Profile (with its many testimonials), and high profile celebrity references might not be enough to get hired. Go beyond those, and think of what additional value you have to offer. Determine if your 30+ years of experience is an asset or a liability, and will it help or hurt your chances?
  3. Branding is not just for companies. It is common these days to speak about one’s ‘personal brand’. This is a blend of people’s perception of you and how you see yourself. Are they congruent, or, do people characterize you as someone different from who you really are? One way to find out is to complete a 360 assessment. These are easily available from a variety of sources, including the 360 Reach Branding Assessment.
  4. Authenticity is a key part of your branding. Be yourself. Highlight the skills, knowledge and strengths that make you unique. Showcase yourself in a way that feels natural to you, yet capture the attention of the hiring manager. You need to ensure that your brand is received positively by the people thinking of hiring you.
  5. First impression matters. You should strive to make a good first impression. Extend your research beyond that of the company and to the people who will be a part of the interview panel. Don’t know who they are? Find out, then conduct a Google search. What you discover could serve as a conversation opener and rapport builder instead of having to discuss the weather.
  6. Messaging is important. Your message should be tailored to the needs of the employer. You need to articulate your success stories in a way that convinces the employer you understand their needs, know where their pain points are, and that you “can fix it”(according to one of the election candidates).
  7. Monitor your social media footprints. Most employers conduct a search on candidates before inviting them to an interview. Make sure you do the same. Do a Google search on yourself to see if there are any negative or unsavoury mentions about you, and clear them up as quickly as you can.

It hurts when you were not hired for the job you were sure you would get. You know in your heart that you have the right qualifications, skills and experience. You did all that you could do, but the decision making was not under your control. Don’t beat upon yourself too much and never stop believing in you and your capabilities. “Take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again”, said Frank Sinatra. This might not be easy. It could take days for you to come to terms with what happened, but life goes on and so should you.

What other tips would you offer to someone who is feeling dejected because of a lost job opportunity?

 

 

Why Are You Afraid to Tell Your Unique, Authentic Story?

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We tell stories every day – to family, friends and colleagues – yet we hardly think of telling stories when we meet recruiters, hiring managers, potential employers, and even potential business partners. Why? We are afraid; we don’t want anyone to label us as ‘braggarts’. A LinkedIn article titled “Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable – Why Now is the Time to Tell Your Work Story”, indicates that approximately only 29% of Canadians and 40% of Americans feel comfortable talking about themselves. In fact, 53% of workers admitted they feel like they are bragging if they talk about themselves. “We’re so uncomfortable touting our work successes that we’d rather share our political views on social media than let our followers know we received a promotion or got a new job.”

In his book, Tell to Win, Peter Gruber states: “Today everyone – whether they know it or not – is in the emotional transportation business. More and more, success is won by creating [and telling] compelling stories that have the power to move partners, shareholders, customers and employees to action. Simply put, if you can’t tell it, you can’t sell it.” This means, if you can’t engage, persuade, motivate and convince others of your accomplishments, your story will remain inside you, and someone else will snag that coveted job or business opportunity.

Storytelling has not only become a central theme to the job search process, but is also a powerful way to get your message across in any setting. It doesn’t matter if you are in an interview, at a networking event, delivering an elevator speech in 30 seconds, participating in meetings, or communicating one-on-one. What matters is your ability to confidently tell stories that will communicate your value and build credibility.

Bear in mind that you are also telling your story in verbal and nonverbal ways. For example, did you know that your resume and your other career marketing efforts are all telling your story? When your resume is set aside by a hiring manager for follow up, it is because something compelling grabbed the his or her attention. When it comes to interviews, you are often asked to “tell me about yourself” or “describe a time when…”. Those questions present an opportunity for you to recount stories that will convince the hiring manager you are the ideal person for the role.

Whether you are a job seeker or an entrepreneur, it’s important that you become a masterful storyteller. Someone who is able to strategically craft and deliver stories that will engage and capture an audience, whether it’s an audience of one or many. You need signature stories that you are proud to share, without feeling bashful. Stories that reveal your authenticity and set you apart from your competitors. How do you do that? Think of it as a movie where you were the main actor. Recall and write out compelling scenes that demonstrated the challenges you were up against, the actions you took and the results or outcomes. Look for patterns. What skills were you using most; where did you feel more energized. This exercise should give your confidence a boost and have you well-prepared to articulate your unique and authentic stories.

Before telling your story, consider the following:

  • Know yourself: Candidly assess your strengths, weaknesses, failures and successes, and be ready to address them if asked.
  • Learn to promote yourself. This might take you out of your comfort zone, but you need to learn to talk about yourself. This is not bragging. This is articulating what’s true about you; who you are, what you have accomplished, and what value you will bring to the new role. If you don’t tell your story, then people won’t know the broad range of talents you have. There is merit in the cliché of tooting your own horn, because if you don’t, no one will know you are coming.
  • Be authentic: Don’t borrow someone else’s story and try to be somebody you are not. Tell your own unique story honestly and with confidence and ensuring that you stay authentic. Author and poet May Sarton said, “We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”
  • Review interview questions ahead of time. While you may not know all the questions you will be asked, research, review and practice certain interview questions that are commonly asked. Then prepare to condense your accomplishments into a few short points that will be memorable.
  • Strengthen your online presence. Nothing speaks louder than a well-written, consistent, authentic online profile that tells your story even when you are asleep. This could be a personal website or blog, or your LinkedIn profile, complete with accomplishments and work samples (if appropriate).

Now, it’s your turn. Are you ready to tell your story? Need to learn storytelling strategies? Grab a copy of Tell Stories, Get Hired.

Do You Have a Growth Mindset?

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It’s not easy to deal with interview rejections, especially after having had 11, without a job offer. It’s not easy to function when the promotion you had in mind did not materialize. It’s not easy to see the light when you are in the doldrums, and conversations become littered with self-limiting declarations such as, “What’s wrong with me…?… I will never… I should have…”.

Renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck has done a lot of research on people’s mindsets: how they see themselves either limited by their circumstances (fixed mindset), or having the ability to grow regardless of their circumstances (growth mindset). I first became aware of her work while completing the CELDC (Certified Executive Leadership Development Coach) program, and learning strategies on how to identify and coach clients who were stuck in a fixed mindset.

Dr. Dweck describes both mindsets as follows:

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success — without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

Here is my question: which mindset do you have? Do you have a fixed mindset that tells you where you are today is where you will always be? Do you subscribe to the notion that “it is what it is; this is my destiny and things won’t get any better”? Or, do you have a growth mindset? One that tells you that today is the beginning, not the end; that things can and will get better; that if you commit, persevere and follow through, you will grow and get to where you need to go.

 

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The latter mindset is a better choice. There are no limits to your capabilities. Today’s disappointments are just temporary setbacks allowing you to retool and get back in the race. While I am not trivializing anyone’s situation, especially as I have been on both sides of this issue, I know it feels much better to be in growth mindset where possibilities exist; where we can jump over barriers and bounce back even when things didn’t go as planned.

We are not all ‘Positive Pollyannas’, being blindly optimistic. We are allowed to have a pity party now and again, but there comes a time when the pity party has to end and we put our minds to work. Do we want to stagnate or do we want to grow? Are we going to continue staring at the closed door of lost opportunity or do we embrace the small window that has just opened up for us? As Dr. Dweck rightly said, “You are in charge of your mind. You can help it grow by using it in the right way.”

Try this short quiz from Dr. Dweck to help you determine your mindset: Fixed versus Growth Mindset.

 

Are You Feeling Stuck, Trapped and Fed Up?

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If you answered “Yes” to the above question, you are not alone. Many people are feeling just like you. They feel like the hamster – forever spinning its wheel but not gaining any traction. They are unhappy. Sometimes this unhappiness is about career, family, money, health, relationships or personal growth. At other times it’s the self-sabotaging conversations they have with themselves: “I can’t do it. I am not good enough. I don’t deserve it. It’s my fault. I am too old.” These negative self-talks don’t result in happiness, but in self-fulling prophecies. It’s worth knowing that whatever we focus on expands, so when we focus on negativity, that’s what we attract.

At this stage of your life, you may feel frustrated with the slow progress you are making, but don’t give up on yourself. It took you years to be where you are and it will take time to arrive at where you want to be. You deserve to live out your true potential, achieve your goals and realize your dreams. Figure out what’s holding you back, and take A.C.T.I.O.N.:

Abandon your old ways of thinking and doing things. If you continue doing what you have always done you cannot expect the results to be different.

Commit to letting go of what is holding you back so you can embrace your life with the vitality you need to take on your wildest dreams.

Tackle your goal one piece at a time. Break your major goal into manageable mini ones to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

Invest at least one hour each day, without fail, to work on your goals and dreams. Business Philosopher Jim Rohn said,“Don’t sit idly by while your dreams diminish to memories, and your hope gives way to remorse; neither should you allow time to slip through your fingers like grains of sand. Sage

Open yourself to other opportunities if your Plan A didn’t work out. Create and enlist the help of a team of positive people who will support, encourage and inspire you to move forward and achieve what you want in your life.

Network. Although networking might make you feel queasy and uncomfortable, it is an important skill to learn. Just like any new sport or hobby, the more you network the more comfortable you become.

There is no reason for you to continue feeling stuck, trapped, fed up and unhappy. You can transform your life if you are committed to taking one small step every day. Ponder the following questions:

  • Who will you be when nothing holds you back?
  • What kind of life would you create, and what kinds of goals would you reach for if you weren’t restrained by limiting beliefs?

If you are ready to let go of the fears and negative self-talk that keep you from growing; if you are ready to create and live a happier life; if you are ready to renew and GROW, join me on this FREE Webinar on Thursday September 8 at 8 pm EST to learn more.

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” ~Jim Rohn

 

Are You One of the 87 Percent Not Enjoying Your Job?

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Did you know that 87% of the workforce do not enjoy going to work? In fact, only 13% of employees worldwide report they actually like going to work, which means the rest are struggling to force them into the office.

Imagine this: it’s Monday morning, your alarm clock goes off. Your stomach starts churning, your head starts hurting and it takes every bit of energy to force yourself out of bed. For most people, just getting them to go to the same energy-draining, uninspiring job, Monday through Friday is work in itself.

What if you accept this invitation to ‘attend’ this FREE online event – The Ultimate Career Summit – that will help you take charge of your career, land a job you love and earn what you deserve? ACT NOW to learn from fourteen or more experts in the field of job search and career development/advancement. The expert panel will share effective strategies to help you begin to take positive actions in designing and developing a career; one that rewards you both emotionally and financially.

Here is a sample of what you will learn:

  • How to use LinkedIn to build visibility in the hidden job market
  • Learn how to obtain a federal job; forget what you thought you knew
  • How to create your personal branding for visibility to help advance your career
  • Hear what actions one can take to confidently and effectively discuss a merit/salary increase
  • The kind of fears stand in the way of career success
  • Why passion is essential for a great career, and why it is not enough
  • How to use a job-search strategy that matches your personality type

That’s just a sampling of what you will learn from this FREE global event, and it’s packed with career information. Here’s your chance to reserve your spot.

Imagine going to work to a job that makes you feel energized, appreciated and fulfilled. Wait no longer. Act now and REGISTER to gain access to this information including how to access the hidden job market or how to advance in your careers.

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Beware of An Idea Whose Time Has Come

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“Beware of an idea whose time has come.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

It doesn’t matter what side of the political discourse one occupies, Secretary Hillary Clinton’s nomination (and acceptance) has put her in line to become the first woman President of the United States. This is huge! The significance of this is that twenty-one years ago, it did not seem possible. If and when she assumes the presidency, she will have Margaret Wade (of Dennis the Menace fame), and Psychologist Ann Ruben to thank.

In 1993, Ann, who had been studying children’s perceptions of women leaders, surveyed 1500 boys and girls from elementary schools, and asked them what they thought of a woman becoming President. Nor surprising, more girls thought it was possible. In 1995, while her husband was watching Dennis the Menace, he heard Dennis’ playmate Margaret Wade telling him thatSome Day a Woman Will Be President.”

That comment pushed Ruben to contact the creator of the popular comic strip to get permission to use the phrase on a t-shirt. She began selling the shirts to women’s organizations, and because of their popularity, she contacted her local Walmart to enquire if they would carry them. They bought dozens of them, but six weeks later the shirts were taken off the floor because some customers had found themtoo offensive”. Walmart’s head office even said they went against the company’sfamily values”. Well, the people spoke. They rallied against Walmart’s action and the t-shirts were put back on the shelves.

Someday_a_Woman

The CBC interviewed Ann Rueben in 1995 when the Walmart story broke. Ann Rueben’s Interview with CBC.

So, twenty-one years ago, it didn’t seem possible. Now we are only a few months away from potentially having the first female President of the United States. How many of us had dreams from that many years ago that are still on the back burner because some people told us they couldn’t happen? How many of us have attempted to bring those dreams into reality only to be thwarted by our own doubts and fears, or by the fears inflicted on us by others?

In an interview with the Washington Post, Ann Ruben said that her father told her “Annie, you’re very smart, and whatever you decide to do in your life, you’re going to be successful. So don’t ever give up, Annie.” Those words gave her the incentive to continue her life’s work of helping to build the self-esteem of girls.

When I launched my mini non-profit Let’s GROW project earlier this year, it wasn’t as grandiose as Ruben’s t-shirts, but it was to encourage women to have a conversation with me, discuss a dream, go after it, and to never give up. Imagine staring at the college diploma of a woman who had a rough life, told she wouldn’t amount to anything, and lived her life believing it. At age 38, and with the help of a coach, she stopped believing the lies, went to college and now has a diploma to prove she is somebody.

Many of us never reach our full potential either because we don’t believe in ourselves or we give up too soon. But, perseverance is the key. When you are knocked down by life’s circumstances, pull yourself up with all the strength you have, and try again. If you cannot do it alone, ask for help. Christian author Dr. Jaime Fernandez Garrido said, “Many winners have reached success by climbing a special ladder called ‘never give up’”.

We are not all Hillary Clintons, and we might not aspire to be President of the United States, but what about taking charge and aspiring to be President of our own lives? You, too, can shatter the glass ceiling of whatever is holding you back. As Secretary Clinton herself said, “When there is no ceiling, the sky is the limit.”

As you reflect on the enormity of Secretary Clinton’s nomination, politics aside, and think of what is possible, may it serve as a motivating force to push you forward in whatever direction you choose. In the meantime, heed Ann Ruben’s advice: “You’re smart. Get educated. Don’t ever give up on your dream and you’ll make it. Hillary made it. She never gave up on her dream.”

“I Am the Greatest…”

Gotcha!

It’s not about me…

It’s not about Muhammad Ali…

It’s all about you!

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Last week I was preparing for one of my advanced speeches for Toastmasters. The project was a sales training speech to teach marketing and selling techniques to my audience.

As ironic as this sounds, I started the speech with this quote, “I am the greatest thing since sliced bread,”  intending to use it as a rally / pep talk for the audience. A few days later, I heard of the passing of Muhammad Ali. When I started preparing the speech, he and his famous “I am the greatest” quote were far from my mind, yet it was the same message I wanted to convey to my audience.

Ali branded himself as “The Greatest” and it stuck. He affirmed it until it became his reality. Most of all, he used it to taunt and conquer his boxing opponents. But, those words also encouraged many of us to believe in ourselves and our capabilities. Whether you liked him or not is debatable, but he was authentic, and believed in himself and his message. Why was he so effective? Because he believed that “as a man thinketh, so is he.”

Now, before anyone starts wondering how could a human being propagate himself to be the greatest, let me allay your fears. Even Ali himself recognized his limitations, when he said, “I am not greater than God; I am just the greatest in the ring.” And I concur.

What does Muhammad Ali’s quote have to do with career advice? It’s about the mindset. Writer Arthur Golden said, “A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory.” Isn’t that true? When we clog our minds with doubt, or when we surround ourselves with people who speak negativity all day long, we are not opening ourselves to attain what’s possible.

As I reflect on some of Ali’s quotes, I want to remind you that you, too, are great, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You will meet naysayers of all stripes, but don’t let them throw cold water on your dreams. I have been there. I have many met people who tried to tell me what I could and could not do.

When I wanted to teach at a college years ago, there were people who asked me who told me I could. When I first announced I was going to write a book, one individual asked me a similar question. In their mind’s eye, it didn’t look possible, but I didn’t listen to them. Instead, I acted like the bumble bee. The story is told of the bumble bee who didn’t get the memo that it wasn’t supposed to fly. Although it has wings, the shape of its body (according to the law of aerodynamics), should prevent it from flying. No expert could talk this bumble bee out of flying. I imagine it felt its wings on its barrel-shaped body and something in its DNA said, “I am supposed to fly. I am not made to just crawl around on the ground”, and away it went flying. Muhammad Ali once said, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”  The bumblebee took a courageous risk and look what happened.

You have to be courageous like the bumble bee, and take a risk. You can’t have a positive life with a negative mind. When negativity calls you on the phone, don’t argue with it, just hang up! That job opportunity you are after can be yours; that teaching position your are looking for can be yours; that business you are yearning to start can happen…just believe in yourself.

Champions

But, belief in self alone won’t cut it. You need to take action. That’s where most of us falter. We get excited about the possibilities, but fail to take action, or we give up after the novelty wears off. When you have been knocked down by the blows of life, pick yourself up, brush yourself off and remind yourself that you are the greatest. Remember, “Champions are not made in gyms. Champions are made from something deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will, but the will must be stronger than the skill.” ~Muhammad Ali.

Let me end with one more quote from Ali’s book The Soul of a Butterfly:

THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS

“All of my life, if I wanted to do something, I studied those who were good at it; then I memorized, what I learned, and believed that I could do it too, then I went out and did it.”

Dare to dream big! Dare to take chances. Let your mantra be “I am the greatest!” and believe it. Then apply the will and follow through, and see what happens.