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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.

How to Prepare for an Effective Informational Interview

How to Prepare for an Effective Informational Interview

One way of meeting new people and finding ‘hidden opportunities’ is to conduct informational interviews.  An informational interview is a good way to start building your network. It builds your self-confidence and also helps to prepare your for job interviews. You can use an informational interview to expand your networking contacts, find out about possible career paths, learn if and where opportunities might exist for your skills, and gain an understanding of workplace culture.

An informational interview also gives you a look at the inside operations of a company and helps you to decide if the company would be a good place to work.

Most people will be pleased to spend a few minutes (in person or over the telephone), to conduct an informational interview with you. After all, most people like talking about themselves, their jobs and their successes. Others might  not have the time or inclination, and if that’s the case, don’t take it personal; just move on.

Preparing for an Informational Interview

Before you contact anyone, you should develop a script that explains the reason for your request. The script below is an example, but it should be customized to fit your situation and needs:

“I was speaking with ____________, and s/he suggested that I give you a call. I am currently _________________. I am curious about the roles of people currently working in __________, and I was wondering if you would be able to meet with me for 15-20 minutes to talk about your role and the organization you work for.”

If you feel uncomfortable using the telephone, send a letter or an email as your first contact. At the end of your message state that you will contact the person by a certain date and make a note to follow up on that date.

Once you have your script ready, you should:

  • Find at least 3-4 people in the field. The more people you interview, the more information you will get.
  • Ask to meet at the workplace so that you can see the work environment.
  • Be authentic in your approach. Make it clear that you are asking for information only and not inquiring about a job possibility.
  • Practice with a friend or family member to build your confidence before you participate in an informational interview.
  • Prepare questions ahead of time.

Questions to Ask at the Informational Interview

Before starting the interview, introduce yourself and thank the person for taking the time to talk or meet with you. Tell them enough about yourself (interests and skills) so that he or she can offer you relevant information. Once all of that is out of the way, start by asking:

  1. What skills and personal qualities are necessary to do your job well?
  2. How did you get into this line of work?
  3. How long have you worked for this organization?
  4. What are your major responsibilities?
  5. What do you perceive to be the major rewards of this job?
  6. What are the major frustrations in this job?
  7. What do you like most about this job?
  8. What advice would you give to a person coming into a company like this?
  9. My strongest skills are____________. Do you know of any other company that could use someone with my skills?
  10. Would you have the name of one or two other individuals to whom you could refer me who could give me additional information about this occupation?

The above tips, while not all-inclusive, will help you in preparing and conducting an effective informational interview. Add your comments below.

 

Monday Rx: Take One Step Towards Learning Something New

When last have you done something to improve yourself? Something like running a marathon (or a half one), reading a book, learning a new skill, building your professional network. Or, it could be something as simple as revamping your resume, practicing to make cold calls, arranging an informational interview even if you are not in a job search? Zig Ziglar’s miniature edition of Success for Dummies, has some inspiring quotes, and today’s message is taken from it.

“Every time you take a step forward by learning something of value, you improve your picture of yourself. Because that picture determines your performance and your performance determines your future, the daily acquisition of knowledge and skills is a marvelous way to ensure your future.”

Take a step forward and do something you have always wanted to do, but never found the time. It could be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Go ahead, try it, and see what happens!

To your success,

 

 

 

 

Need a résumé, interview coaching or career advice? Contact me at info[at]thewrightcareer.com or 647-930-4763.  You can also visit www.thewrightcareer.com.