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If You Want Growth, Help Others GROW!

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If you want growth, help others grow.” ~Tony Abbacchi

Do you remember January 1st, 2010? It seems like so long ago, but I remember it was my first foray into group coaching when I launched a six-week coaching program for  women.

What began with ten women ended with five. After the six weeks, I remember feeling very disappointed and asking myself what could I have done differently to keep the five who did not follow through. I hadn’t yet learned what coaching was about. I thought it meant shouldering the responsibility for the those five women, and if I didn’t and they failed, I was to be blamed. I remember talking it through with my own coach and she said, “You can take the horse to the water, but you can’t force it to drink!” Lesson learned!

That self-reflection and self-blame nearly caused me to miss the growth of the other five. What did they do differently? They stuck it out and did the work.

Of the five who dropped out, three are still struggling today, 10 years later. The point is not to call them out (because I would not), but to ask the “What if?” question.

“Dare to dream, but even more importantly, dare to put action behind your dreams.” ~Josh Hinds

Over the past ten years, I haven’t strayed from my mission of supporting women. While I began by engaging in many “under-the-radar” activities with through mentoring and pro bono coaching, in the latter years, the engagement became more public and group-oriented.

“Incremental progress keeps us engaged and helps us grow.”

The start of this particular decade – 2020 – is rare and special. Rare, because it’s the only time we will be able to say we have perfect, 20/20 vision, and claim that “we can see clearly now”. Special, because it’s ‘Double 20’, an opportunity to receive a double dose of whatever we are dreaming of, or aspiring towards – if we persist.

Are you ready to seize the opportunity? Are you ready to GROW?

My vision for 2020 is all about  – Transformation and GROWth. Through my Let’s GROW project, I have committed to helping 20 women grow in 2020. This is specifically for the individuals who are participants in my Sip, Paint & GROW project on January 11, 2020, International Vision Board Day.

We will also be tapping into the growth vs fixed mindset idea advocated by Dr. Carol Dweck in her book, MINDSET: The New Psychology of Success.

Here’s a quick overview of the program, which comes into effect after the January 11th Let’s GROW event. I will be:

  • Facilitating coaching conversations through a private Facebook group for one full year, literally for FREE!* There are restrictions. See below.
  • Putting together a generous and motivated group of women committed to building give and take relationships** to advance their own careers, and by default, advancing the careers of others. It will not only be taking, but giving back and helping others (e.g. giving of their time, sharing their resources and network, and making connections).
  • Writing a book to chronicle stories worth sharing:  personal stories, or our dreams and aspirations. While it’s not mandatory, this book opportunity is restricted to any attendee from this 2020 cohort, if they choose. If you are an original member of the Let’s GROW group, and you wish to be a contributor to the book, please contact me.

My overall goal for the Group is for all of us to “contribute wherever we can without keeping score.” (Dr. Adam Grant), and help someone else GROW!

CAVEAT:

  • These coaching conversations* are limited and separate and apart from my regular services. For e.g., if you have a question around interviews or need clarity on an issue, you can ask me, but it’s not a substitute for interview coaching or other services.
  • Other than me, no participant / member is expected to offer FREE coaching services. That would be asking too much of them. However, as part of building a giving and taking relationship, they are asked to offer and receive what I call “Five Minute Favours”. After all, we are building a community.

As Tony Abbacchi says “When you give with expectations, not only will your reputation suffer but so will your mindset.”

** The Give and Take and “Five Minute Favours” concepts come from Dr. Adam Grant’s book Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Success.

As you begin 2020, here are six questions to ask yourself:

  1. Am I happier now than ten years ago?
  2. What have I done?
  3. What have I learned?
  4. Who have I become?
  5. Am I where I want to be?
  6. Where do I see myself a decade from now?

Are you ready to seize the opportunity? Are you ready to GROW? Contact me now, or engage the services of a coach who can guide you, but please, do something!

To your success!

It is 2016: Do You Know Where Your SMART Goals Are?

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It is 2016! Do you know where your SMART goals are?

Abraham Lincoln once said, “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”  Wise words indeed, but, how many people really set goals, even though they believe in the concept? Not too many.

Mind map created on blackboard with colorful crumpled sticky notes and white chalk - setting personal goals in different areas of life (artistic, attitude, care

Goal setting might sound like a cliché, but it is a powerful exercise as it provides a sense of direction, helping us decide where we want to go and how we will get there. But, it requires SMART thinking. It requires that our goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely, and aligned with our deepest desire. Below are five SMART steps that could help you stay focused and achieve your goals in 2016:

SET GOALS INSTEAD OF RESOLUTIONS

It is common for many of us to make New Year’s resolutions. We are turning over a new page, everything looks and sounds exciting, and we resolve to do a lot of things. The problem is these resolutions are transitory. They disappear almost as fast as they are made. Goals, on the other hand, seem more tangible and realistic, and easier to be attained. Goal setting is a critical element of one’s career, or life, but it requires discipline and commitment. It doesn’t make sense to say, “I resolve to get a new job, change my career, or start a business”, then sit around and wait for them to fall in your lap. It’s not going to happen! You need to commit to a plan, follow up with action, then have the resilience to stick with it to the end.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

My well-used, dog-eared copy of Henriette Anne Klauser’s book, Write It Down and Make It Happen, is a great reminder that keeping your goals in your head won’t make them happen. You have to write them down. When you do this, you create a major shift and suddenly it makes you feel you are halfway there. So, write your goals down and make them happen.

ABANDON NEGATIVE SELF-TALK

This one saps every energy out of you. When you regularly engage in negative self-talks, or surround yourself with negative people, you are setting the stage for these negative behaviours to coalesce and hold you back from achieving your goals. Let go of negativity in all its forms and embrace positive, confidence-boosting self-talk.

REVIEW YOUR PROGRESS

It’s always a good idea to review your progress. Spend at least 10 minutes each day checking to see where you are. This ensures you are still on track, and demonstrates your commitment to the process. To keep you motivated, reward yourself for each milestone reached. These rewards don’t have to be big, but enough to encourage you to carry on.

THINK BIG!

It is often said that one of the mistakes we make in setting goals is not thinking big enough, but big goals generate excitement and passion. They might make you feel uncomfortable, but that’s OK. Don’t settle for goals that are too easy to reach. Strive for the ones that will stretch you beyond your comfort zone. If they appear too challenging, break them into small, manageable steps, but don’t give up, think big.

You now have some additional tips to help you set SMART goals in 2016. Take the process one step further by sharing your goals with a circle of people who want to see you succeed; those who will encourage and inspire you when the going gets tough. Commit to your plan and become your own success story in 2016. Happy New Year!

Welcome Aboard Flight 2015

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Welcome Aboard Flight 2015! This is both a New Years’ greeting as well as a dose of my usual Monday Rx.

First of all, I am not the author of the original message, and I do pay homage to that person for his or her ingenuity. But, I thought it was such a classic New Year’s message that I decided to create this Infographic and put a slightly different spin on it.

Since it’s the first Monday of the year, I think it would be a good idea to think of what’s ahead for you as you board flight 2015. Let me ask you a few questions:

  • Have you set any specific goals for the year? If you haven’t, it means you have indirectly set one, and it is to remain where you are.
  • Have you decided if you will be a passenger or the pilot of your career this year? It’s up to you to determine if you will be taking charge of your career in 2015, or you will be assigning such an important responsibility to others.
  • Are you ready to eliminate the negative thoughts or people that surrounded you in 2014? My advice is, when negativity calls you on the phone this year, don’t argue with it, just hang up!

In addition to those thoughts, here are some wise words from famed basketball coach, John Wooden. Unlike resolutions, these are promises you can keep:

 

  • Promise yourself that you will talk health, happiness, and prosperity as often as possible.
  • Promise yourself to make all your friends know there is something in them that is special and that you value.
  • Promise to think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best from yourself and others.
  • Promise to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
  • Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  • Promise to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements in the future.
  • Promise to wear a cheerful appearance at all times and give every person you meet a smile.
  • Promise to give so much time improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
  • Promise to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit trouble to press on you.

We cannot rewind the past, but we can take advantage of the present, and leap into the future with great expectations. That’s my wish for you in 2015. Welcome aboard flight 2015. Enjoy the ride, and contact me if you need a career companion!

 

It is Time for Reflection, Resolutions, Goal Setting AND Action

Time For Reflection Message Means Ponder Or ReflectThe New Year is usually a time for reflection. We reflect on what went well and what didn’t, and then we begin, with all good intentions to make resolutions or set goals. But, before the end of January, goals will be forfeited, resolutions will be broken, old habits will seep in, and we are back to where we started. We default to complacency and inertia and never take the action necessary to accomplish our goals.

Resolutions never spur me to action because I perceive them as fleeting clouds ambling along without a clear sense of direction. On the other hand, goals appear more tangible, as if they can be touched, so I am a bit more motivated when I think in terms of goals.

Whether you subscribe to resolutions or goal setting, following through with action is a must. Write down your goals, review them regularly, then act. Begin by using the ACTION plan laid out below:

A – Abandon the old ways of thinking and doing things. If resolutions didn’t work, get smart, and set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

C – Commit to your goals. Commitment is necessary for success.  Set aside at least one hour each day, no matter what, to work on the goal – whether it is to research your target employers, arrange informational interviews, or network with people who will keep you on their radar for opportunities that may be of interest to you.

T – Tackle your goal one piece at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Break the major goal into manageable mini goals. Keep yourself motivated by reward yourself when each mini goal is achieved.

I – Invest the time and resources necessary to achieve the goal. Too many people wait until the last minute to start working on their resumes, for example. A hastily put-together resume and cover letter won’t reach your intended audience. It takes a carefully orchestrated plan and that takes time.

O – Open yourself to new opportunities. The promotion you were expecting may have gone to someone else, or your recent interview did not end with a job offer. Instead of staring at those closed doors, look for other windows of opportunity to showcase your brand accomplish your goal.

N – Network. As a job seeker, or someone in career transition, you need to invest time in your networking efforts. It is said that sixty percent of a job seeker’s time should be spent on networking. Many people have negative connotations about networking. They view it as a dirty word instead of relationship-building, and that takes a lot of time and effort.

If you are ready for a new job or a new career, set SMART goals, review them regularly then take action. You might surprise yourself.  Share your experience or thoughts here and let’s discuss.

 

13 Questions to Ask Yourself Before 2013

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Can you imagine that the New Year is almost 13 days away! Where did 2012 go? What were you able to achieve? Honestly, what progress have you made in your job search or your career since January 2012? If you haven’t made any progress since then, there’s nothing much you can do at this stage except to learn from the past and move on.

Having said that, what are your plans for 2013? More resolutions? More “If only I had had more, time, money, guidance?” What about setting aside some quality time for yourself to answer the following 13 questions, and then let’s have a chat in the New Year? I might just be able to help you move your career forward.

  1. Describe yourself in 100 words
  2. What are you passionate about?
  3. What are the achievements you are most proud of?
  4. What gives you strength?
  5. What is your favorite activity?
  6. What brings you peace?
  7. What’s your greatest fear?
  8. What are your values?
  9. What are your biggest goals and dreams?
  10. What’s stopping you from pursuing them? How can you overcome them?
  11. How important are these goals to you?
  12. What is your ideal career?
  13. How can you start creating your ideal career starting today?

Are you ready to move your career forward? Don’t delay. Any decisions and actions you make today will set you up for success in 2013. I am ready and willing to help, but only if you are ready and willing to help yourself. Let’s start the process now!

Ditch Your Resolutions and Set SMART Goals in 2012

January is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about New Year resolutions, or is it? How many of your 2011 resolutions did you keep?

For several years now I have been advocating that people set goals instead of make resolutions. Goal setting helps you to decide what you want to achieve and create a step-by-step plan to do it. Resolutions, in my humble opinion, are ideals that are short-lived. Most people give up on them within a few short months. Goals, again in my opinion, are more realistic. You lay them out, break them down into small manageable steps, and they suddenly appear achievable.

The SMART acronym – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely – is usually the centre of any discussion on goal setting, but for this article, I have put a new spin on it:

Set Goals and ditch resolutions. As stated above, resolutions are transitory, so set realistic goals and then commit to them. Goal setting is such a critical element of one’s career, or life that it requires discipline, commitment and desire. Don’t just say “I need to get a new job, or I need to change my career”, then sit around and wait for it to happen, because it won’t. Create a plan.

Make it happen. Keeping your goals in your head won’t make them happen, but if you write them down and surround yourself with a circle of people who will hold you accountable, a major shift will take place.

Abandon negative self-talk and fear. These attributes – negative self-talk, being around negative people, and a fear of failure – coalesce to hold us back from achieving our goals.

Record and Review your activities. Identify and record the steps you needed to achieve your goal. This act of recording is essential to making your goal come alive. In writing them down, they become clearer to you. After that, spend as little as 1o minutes each day to review your progress.

Think Big and Bold! It is said that one of the mistakes we make in setting goals is not thinking big enough, but big goals generate excitement and passion. If you stretch yourself to set a few big and bold goals, it should be enough to capture and hold your attention.

2012 will be your banner year, if you focus, invest in yourself, and stick to your plan. Set your SMART goals and see what’s possible for your life. Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage and inspire you and share in your successes. Take time to reward yourself for each accomplishment, however small because these tiny rewards will serve as motivators for you to keep on going.

Become your own success story in 2012! Remember, “Successful people always do what unsuccessful people do not”. Be the change you want to see!

A Happy and Prosperous New Year from The Wright Career Solution, the company that moves your career forward…one step at a time!

 

Monday Rx: Surround Yourself With ‘Possibility Thinkers’

Happy Monday!

What does Monday Rx have to do with your career or job search? Everything! In the midst of a job search or career transition it’s easy to become discouraged. The purpose of the Monday Rx is to lift your spirits, so take a respite from whatever you are doing and savour these words!

Henry Emerson Fosdick said, “Have the daring to accept yourself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the game of making the most of your best.”

Today, surround yourself with ‘possibility thinkers’:

  • Those who believe in your dreams;
  • Those who will motivate and inspire you to stretch beyond your comfort zone;
  • Those who will help you reach your goal.

Look around for ‘possibility thinkers’ within and outside your network. You will need them in your corner when the going gets rough.

To your success,

Image: Attributed to Kelly Rae Roberts Wall Art

Do You Have the Courage to….?

 

After my Mother passed away recently, I took a respite from everything for several weeks, including my business. I just couldn’t motivate myself to do anything and so I needed something to pull me through. I decided to use the time to ask and answer my own questions:

  • What did it take for me to make the decision to move to Canada?
  • What did it take to apply for and get a job at the UN while I was enroute to Canada?
  • What did it take to negotiate my salary with my first Canadian employer when the initial offer was not what I expected?
  • What did it take to get a teaching position at Sheridan College?
  • What did it take to start my business?
  • What did it take to write my book?

As I reflected on each question, one word kept revolving in my mind and it was COURAGE! I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be in any of those decisions, but each time I felt this burning feeling in my stomach to do something, I took a leap of faith.

How about you? What giant (or small) leap have you taken after just seeing the first step? Or, are you someone who has to see all the steps before making a move?  It doesn’t matter if it’s a small or giant step, if you are to move from where you are to where you want to be, it will take courage. You have to be prepared to:

C Commit and persevere. This is sometimes the most difficult part, as many people give up soon after they start. Remember, “there’s always a dip in the middle of working toward a goal. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just brush yourself off and re-commit!” (Shawn Driscoll)
O Open your eyes, ears and mind for new opportunities and offers. They come in various forms, but you have to be prepared to seize the moment.
U Uncover your talents. You may have latent talents just waiting to be uncovered. Take an assessment if you are unsure about your gifts, or enlist the help of a career coach.
R Reach out and request help from others. Many people are willing to offer you assistance, but you must ask. I couldn’t have done it on my own. Family, friends and professional colleagues played a huge role.
A
Accept the fact that failure is a part of success. My colleague @LydiaFernandes tweeted recently, “Everytime you fall, it’s an opportunity to get back up & rock it out even harder!” and Author Tim Harford in his new book: Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, says we should “fight failure with courage.”
G Get Ready, Get Set and Go! Let go of whatever is holding you back and take the first step. Linda Mastandrea said “Go after your dream, no matter how unattainable others think it is.”
E Engage people face-to-face and through social media to build relationships. Up to 85% of opportunities are found through networking. Keep in mind, however, that it’s a two-way-give-and-get street.

It is as easy as that. Everything begins with a first step. That first step is commitment. It might take you some time to get there, just don’t ever dare to give up. As you do some reflections of your own, let me leave you with these words from Dale Carnegie & Ralph Marston:

“Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.” ~ Dale Carnegie

“Your biggest limitation is your reluctance to move forward. Get over that, and you can get over anything .Time, money, knowledge, and resources are minor considerations when compared to one vital factor. That factor is your willingness to get it done.” ~ Ralph Marston

I hope you will take your leap of faith, and Just Do It!

Feel free to share your comments below about COURAGE.