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I Am Proud of Me!

This year, 2020, has been a year most of us have never seen. While there is enough I can celebrate, it would be remiss of me not to pause and reflect on the many families who had an empty chair at the dining table this Holiday Season.

If the pandemic didn’t hit us directly, we knew someone who was affected. I lost a family member to the COVID19 virus. He contracted it after being hospitalized with a stroke. I last saw him when I visited Jamaica in June 2019 and I spoke with him just three weeks before his stroke. That was pretty close to home.

At the start of the year, I predicted it was the only year when we were all going to have 20/20 vision. We now know how that turned out. However, that shouldn’t negate the fact there were many moments when ‘you were proud of you’ and ‘I was proud of me’. As you read this, you might be saying to yourself “How narcissistic and me-centered can this woman get?” And I would counter that narcissism has its place.

Too often we feed our minds with negativity and wondering what people will say if we begin to ‘toot our own horns’ and holler out that “I Am Proud of Me!” We find it easier to relegate our accomplishments (our proud moments), to imposter syndrome status. We become friends with it, telling ourselves we are frauds; devaluing ourselves, feeling undeserving of our achievements, questioning our capability, wondering if we are the right person for the job, being afraid to speak up because of what others might say, looking behind our backs to see if we are the ones being called on to step forward. We hand over power to imposter syndrome rather than acknowledging our proud moments.

With 2021 only a few hours away, I won’t be predicting anything, but I want you to tell yourself how proud YOU are of YOU! Whether you had one achievement, or 100, start saying, “I am Proud of Me!”, and do it as many times as you can, until you believe it to your core. That’s one sure way to counter imposter syndrome as you move forward.

What have been my Proud Moments?

Turned Lemons into Lemonade. One of the lemons thrown at me was when I was zoom-bombed with pornography and racist tirades during a webinar. I could have left it up to ignorance of the perpetrator(s), but it fired me up to speak out and write about racism and social justice. It made me realize it is more powerful to speak up than to quietly resent. I also recognized that although not everyone will appreciate my truth, I have to speak it anyway because silence is complicit.

Honest Conversations Build Bridges. With all the mayhem that was going on with George Floyd’s murder and Black Lives Matter protests, performative statements by individuals and corporations were challenged and allyship became a verb in some quarters. Several people reached out to me to ask how I was feeling and to have deep, genuine conversations.

Professional Development. On the professional development level, I had registered to attend Career Thought Leaders’ in-person conference in Philadelphia, but because of the pandemic, it was cancelled. I made lemonade from that the situation and signed up for their Certified Career Transition Coach program.

Living, Learning and Working. Career Professionals of Canada is an organization that thrives on innovation in the career space. I volunteered to be part of the review and beta-testing of its epic Work-Life Strategist program.

As career coaches, we tend to look at our clients through the lens of job search and/or career change, but how often do we take the whole person into consideration? This Work-Life Strategist program helps career practitioners do that from the perspective of: Living (Self-care & Happiness), Learning (Life-Long Learning), and Working (Workplace Well-being).

As part of the cohort of careerpros who took part in the beta-test, and the calibre of their contributions, I know I gained far more than I offered. Pleased to have been a part of this pioneering program and to earn the Certified Work-Life Strategist designation.

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For the third time, I was awarded Outstanding Canadian Career Leader by my peers at Career Professionals of Canada.

Thanks to career and job search icon, Alison Doyle, I was introduced to The Balance Careers, where I have been contributing articles on diversity and inclusion. My latest article is How to Appreciate Diversity During the Holidays.

And, the highlight of my year and very near and dear to my heart are the 20 women who jumped on the 2020 Let’s GROW Project bandwagon, and wrote the anthology, 21 Resilient Women: Stories of Courage, Growth, and Transformation. A few days after publication, it became an Amazon #1 in Motivational and Self-Help and Women’s Biographies categories! How epic is that? #IAmProudofMe!

https://www.amazon.com/21-Resilient-Women-Stories-Transformation/dp/0981310478/

How about you? Were there times when you felt like shouting “I Am Proud of Me!”, and you didn’t because imposter syndrome reared its head, or you feared people would think you had gone crazy?

We have been conditioned to believe that we should not talk about our proud moments because we will be seen as narcissistic, conceited and egocentric. As a career coach, I always encourage clients to be proud of their achievements and make sure to talk about them in interviews. I should heed my own advice, and so should you.

One client told me once that she did not realize the contributions she had made to her company until she saw her accomplishments summarized in her boss’ LinkedIn Profile. She was a spectator at her own career game, but that discovery led her to start capturing her accomplishments.

Let 2021 be the year, you leave imposter syndrome behind and embrace your proud moments. If you don’t toot your own horn, no one will know you are coming; It’s time to give a shoutout to yourself and say “I am Proud of Me!”

By the way, I am getting ready for the virtual edition of the Let’s GROW Project under the theme: Visioning 2021 – #GettingItDone. It’s happening on International Vision Board Day!

Save the date: January 9, 2021, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Eastern.

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Watch this space for details. Or, if you cannot wait, send me a message.

 

10 Practical Career Decisions You Can Make in 2013

2013-New-Year-Clock-Facebook-Cover-PhotoAs you welcome 2013, are there things you are holding onto that you should have let go in 2012? Are there people, situations, or ideas that you need to let go of in order to embrace all the opportunities awaiting you this year? If you have identified something or some people holding you back, it’s time to let go and forge full steam ahead. Here are ten career decisions you could make that will move you forward this year:

  1. Let go of ‘I should have, could’ve, can’t, won’t, what ifs, and buts’.  You may have missed out on opportunities because you were second guessing yourself, but they are gone and there is nothing you can about them now. Instead, focus on “I can and I will”.
  2. Let go of the negative people around you. You can spot them easily – the ones who always seem to have a ‘doom-and-gloom-glass-half-empty’ syndrome. This may not be easy as sometimes the cynics among us include people near and dear to us. But, if you would like to start the New Year on a positive footing, you will have to make the decision to reduce or minimize the time spent with pessimists, and embrace those who see obstacles as opportunities. It was Winston Churchill who remarked that “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
    Surround yourself with optimists.
  3. Let go of the activities that are not leading you towards goal achievement. Question yourself: “Is what I am currently doing leading me towards where I want to go?” If the answer is “No”, then it’s time to let go!
  4. Let go of your doubts and failures and appreciate your gifts.  Refrain from comparing your abilities with those of others and stop dwelling on your failures. You have a unique gift that you were endowed with. Recognize and use this gift so you can become better today than you were yesterday.
  5. Stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone. Get off the comfort zone couch and make room to experience something new and refreshing! Your comfort zone is the circle of people you are comfortable interacting with. If you continue to live in that ‘easy chair’ circle, you are not giving yourself an opportunity to expand your horizons.
  6. Evaluate your network. Take an inventory of the people in your network and make sure it includes people whose strengths are your weaknesses. You will be able to learn from these individuals and fill in your skill gaps. Leadership coach, John Maxwell notes in his book, 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, that “It’s hard to improve when you have no one but yourself to follow.”
  7. Create a vision for your life or career. Visualize what your career or your life should look like by the end of 2013. What do you want to accomplish? Is it time to invest in yourself by enrolling in an online course? Is it time to invest in a coach who will guide, encourage, support and hold you accountable to attaining your goal(s)?
  8. Engage in a self-reflection exercise. Spend some time to answer the following questions: Who am I? What or who do I need to let go of in order to move forward? Where do I see myself in the next 12 months? What is it that I am good at that I would like to continue doing? How can I begin to reshape my destiny? Tony Robbins once said, “It’s in your moments of decisions that your destiny is shaped”. Are you ready to shape or reshape your destiny? If the answer is “Yes”, what small step could you take today to propel you forward?
  9. Take ownership of your career. Are you feeling like you are a prisoner in your job? Do you feel like you are suffocating? You can become the person you want to be; you can get the promotion you so desperately need, but the responsibility is on you. It’s time to take ownership for your own professional development. It’s time to believe in yourself and your capabilities, then learn how to articulate your value to your next employer. Re-read #7 above.
  10. Get rid of the ANTs in your head. Psychiatrist Daniel G. Amen refers to these ANTs as those Automatic Negative Thoughts that fill our heads most of the time…the thoughts we engage in day-after-day with ourselves that hold us down instead of moving us forward. Replace those thoughts with something positive and uplifting. Choose your thoughts carefully because your thoughts manifest themselves as things later on.

Having read the above, are you ready to let go of what’s not serving you and commit to a fresh in 2013? If you are, then let’s talk, or share your thoughts below.

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PS: Image courtesy of 25dip.com

 

Is Your Résumé a Reflection of Who You Are, or is it a Fake?

Just in case you haven’t heard the news, the former head of PayPal, and recent CEO of Yahoo! has tendered his resignation five months after assuming the position. He fudged his resume – just a wee bit – by stating that he has a degree in Computer Science and one in Accounting. A vigilant shareholder, apparentlywith his own motives, did some research and found that the CEO does not have a degree in computer science. This is yet another high profile person who has had to resign his job because of inaccuracies in his resume.

Several years ago I wrote an article titled, Lying on Résumés…Alarmingly Common, and it looked at several high profile individuals who had embellished their resumes. A former manager of a professional baseball team had to retract a statement that he was an All American Basketball player, and that he played basketball at UCLA prior to signing with the Dodgers. Another sports executive switched his degree from social work to business administration in an attempt to gain an edge in the purchase of a sports team.

In Canada, a politician had to quit his caucus when it was revealed he never attended law school as he claimed on his résumé. There was also a ‘doctor wannabe’ who practiced medicine in the US and Canada for 10 years before it was found out he never had a medical degree. In 2007, the former dean of admissions at MIT had to resign after she lied about her academic credentials. She said at the time: “I misrepresented my academic degrees when I first applied to MIT 28 years ago and did not have the courage to correct my resume when I applied for my current job or at any time since.

So, whether it’s a degree that one does not have, or skills or duties that are exaggerated, it is obvious that many people feel compelled to beef up their resumes with fake accomplishments. More often than not the perpetrator is someone in a senior role. This leaves one to wonder why people who have been successful on their own merit, feel that they should embellish their qualifications.

Although reference is being made to people at high levels of an organization, it does not mean others with lesser qualifications are not using the same tactics. Surveys show from time to time that a vast number of people – ranging from general office to senior executives – pad their resumes. But as these people have found out it is never a good idea to exaggerate one’s credentials. Sometimes it takes five months to uncover the truth; at other times up to 28 years, but when it happens it can have a devastating impact on one’s career.

Since spring is in the air and the Yahoo story so recent, it may be a good time to review your resume and make sure that every  employer, date of employment, and achievement is correct. No one wants to be caught in embarrassing situations like these.