Archives for May 2016

5 of the Biggest Lessons I Learned in 10 Years as a Career Coach

Climbing Journal Mount Rinjani Package by Trekking Rinjani of Flickr

Climbing Journal Mount Rinjani Package by Trekking Rinjani of Flickr

 

 

Last week an executive recruiter shared with me a really interesting position that she is trying to fill in the bleeding edge of biotechnology. We reveled at all of the amazing things that we were able to learn by spending quality time with subject matter experts and thought leaders. Then she asked me, “What is the biggest thing you learned when you switched from recruiting to career coaching?” Compassion is the first answer that came to the top of my mind because it was the first big lesson that made the biggest difference in my coaching practice and for my clients.

As I continue to reflect on the past ten years, there are a few more huge lessons among all of the small ones that have made the biggest difference in what and how I teach that have become staples of my brand. Allow me to share the top five lessons from my last ten years:

 

1. You get better results with compassion rather than with judgment

We followed this motto in recruiting, “screen out, not in.” It was meant to keep us looking for the right fit and not to force the fit. I’m a very trainable person and now I know that I can take things too literally. So I adopted this method of qualifying talent, but I did not enjoy the method. Yet, it became my way to be judgmental of candidates. I was always assessing if they were good enough and was always digging for skeletons in their closet. It is part of what made me realize I did not want to be a recruiter any longer. Although I switched sides to become an advisor and advocate for job seekers, I had taken a very “tough love” approach. I shared with them (for their own sake) all of the different and negative perceptions that they could be generating.

This is vital information for job seekers to understand, but what I did not understand at the time was how my role was really to be encouraging, to help them realize and articulate the tremendous value that they can present, and to help them see that they have so much more value to present than risk. For example, even when I was convincing a client that he should have been making double what he had been earning, I had been telling him from a place of judgment and intolerance rather than from a place of understanding and compassion. This is something that I needed coaching on, and I spent a year and then some working to restore and expand my compassion.

 

2Not only should I always be coached, but I should engage a coach who is an expert in each thing I want to master

Coaching had a profound impact on me, and that is why I found it a worthwhile career pursuit. I don’t know what made me think that once I became a coach I no longer needed coaching. In fact, what I discovered over the last ten years is that my capacity to learn new techniques, methodologies, and skills not only expands my abilities to accomplish goals my personal life, but it exponentially evolves the value that I offer my clients. This enables me to help them go further faster than ever before. It does not really matter what material I’m learning, there are always new applications for my clients.

 

3. Success is about 20% what you do, 30% how you do it, and 50% what you do it from

In college, I took a lot of communications courses for my major and I learned a lot about nonverbal communication and how much more influential it can be on people versus verbal communication. I certainly saw that in practice as a recruiter, as I became a human lie detector, but it was not until I underwent transformational training around communications that I had an epiphany: No matter what we say, or how we tactically manipulate our pitch, facial expressions, or body language, if we are coming from negative emotions, we will most likely have a negative communication outcome.

Do you have one of those friends that presses you a lot with, “no offense but…” and you know that what is likely going to come out of their mouth is going to be offensive? Did you know that we cannot possess negative emotion and positive emotion simultaneously, though we can easily switch back and forth? Physical and physiological changes in our pitch, tone, facial expressions, and body language occur naturally as results of our emotions. It makes a lot more sense to just be more conscious of which emotions we are communicating through, rather than to pay attention and manipulate the physical and physiological symptoms. Everyone has an internal lie detector, and although they do not recognize what they are picking up as a lie, they will get a general sense of being out of rapport with someone. If you are not in rapport with someone, you cannot be influential. Conclusion: if you want to be influential, communicate from a positive emotion, such as joy, possibility, love, and compassion.

 

4. When done right, technology makes us more productive, more efficient, and more effective, but it has to be done with discipline

I totally understand people who are resistant to using social media because there is a real risk that you will miss out on what and who is physically in front of you, and it can become an unhealthy escape from reality. However, there are ways to manage social media and technology usage that enable you to reap the benefits, such as being the person that people think of when a great opportunity comes around. That is, someone who can successfully manage and mitigate the potential risks that contribute to a loss of quality of life can use technological tools to be more productive with less effort. The learning, however, and the implementation, as well as tweaking the balance between using and abusing, will take time and effort (although a lot less time and effort if you do #2.)

 

5. Good habits are key to sustainable success, but accountability is only important to most, not all people

I am in love with learning, testing, and applying new techniques and technology that help us create better habits that support us in achieving our goals. Since first studying behavior modification through gamification in 2010, and trying to discover a panacea that would help everyone be successful, I discovered (I’m quoting Gretchen Rubin), “we are all more similar than we think, but our differences are important.” We all have the same brain composition, which operates according to some well-known and some newly discovered ways. Some of those ways help us learn and some impede our learning. However, we all come to the table with our own set of perceptions and beliefs about how the world and people operate.

That perception can greatly shape our tendencies when it comes to not just forming new habits, but the desire to do so. Some people do not need accountability because they hold themselves accountable and are very coachable. However, there are very few of these people. Others prefer to defy expectations and accountability, which makes them less likely to form a habit. Fortunately, this is also a small population of people and they deserve success as much as anyone else. Other coaches might find this population of people to be uncoachable, but I believe they are coachable. Furthermore, I’m enjoying the challenge of figuring out how to be a successful coach to the “rebel” population.

 

My six-year-old always wants to know how I know something. “How do you know the library is going to be closed tomorrow?” Sometimes I find myself explaining to her, “Well, the sign in the elevator said that the library would be closed on Sundays from May until September.” Other times I’ll just say, “Well, you think you know a lot at six years old. Imagine how much more you’ll have learned by the time you’re 12, then 24, and then 48.”

I’m sure if you thought about the last ten years of your career life, you would be equally in awe of how much you have evolved. You would be equally excited about what the next ten years holds in store, just from a learning and development perspective.

 

Please share with me some of the biggest lessons you have learned in the past ten years.

3 Ways to Overcome Having Been Overpaid

All in a Day's Work by Damian Gadal of Flickr.jpg

All in a Day’s Work by Damian Gadal of Flickr.jpg

 

While research shows and some politicians feel that most workers, particularly women and federal employees, have been underpaid for far too long, some have been blessed to be very well paid. If this is you, I hope that you are taking full advantage of it and, rather than increasing your standard of living, are using the money to pay off debts and saving for the future. Experience has proven that being paid above market value puts you on the chopping block if your company ever decides that the money is better spent elsewhere.

To boot, if you are separated from your company it can be that much harder to find a job above market pay or even to convince employers that you are willing to take a pay cut.

Employers have justifiable concerns hiring somebody above market range. You could be asking for more than your boss is earning, which usually does not produce strong rapport to build a good relationship.

As with most situations, this poses a challenge, but is not necessarily an obstacle. There are ways that you can conduct your search and mitigate any potential perceived risk you pose by being someone paid above market.

 

  1. Know your numbers

If you are someone who excels at managing personal finances, you probably have strong accounts of what your monthly expenses are, and you also probably have very clear-cut savings goals for retirement. Evaluate whether there are areas of your living expenses or entertainment expenses that can be downsized.

If you have not been keeping very clear records of your monthly expenses and do not have clear-cut retirement, or other savings goals, now is the time to meet with a financial advisor.  (I know a few great ones, if you need a referral!)

If this task seems daunting to you, I can relate, and it can be tempting to guesstimate, but this is potentially very dangerous for you. If there is something you do not account for, like if you own a home and you are not accounting for an emergency fund for all the unexpected, very expensive repairs that come along with owning a home, you could be underinsured for some acts of God. Another example could be that you need to increase in your life insurance coverage if your standard of living has increased over the years. If you had a 401(k) with your previous company, a financial advisor will help you determine the best way to reinvest that to match your desired level of growth, risk, and future life needs. This is something you want to expert help on. Even if you are an expert at these things, it is wise to obtain a second opinion. Just make sure that, whatever decisions are made and whoever makes them, you are fully educated on the options and apprised of the ongoing status. Always maintain control and awareness.

If you genuinely are able to take a pay cut because you are earning above your means, coming in with specific substantiation of that will show an employer that you are fully prepared, and not guessing. Many employers have personal experience with this that they will trust over your word. You can convince them that you are not a flight risk by taking a salary cut if you write or say something specific, such as, “My house is paid off, my kids’ college is paid for, I have no debt, and I can afford to take a $43,000 pay cut.” You can do this from the get-go in an approach or cover letter, you can empower your recruiter to negotiate this on your behalf, or you can state it upfront in conversation when you have a chance to speak one-on-one with your next potential boss.

By the way, just because you are willing to take a pay cut does not mean you should not try to negotiate your package, especially if in your role you are expected to be a strong negotiator. Focus on some of the perks of a package, like a corporate car or car expenses. Perhaps you already have health care through your spouse. You can either negotiate for them to replace some of the perks they would have offered you with compensation, or where they cannot provide you with compensation, ask for perks. Come in knowing which perks have a monetary value to you.

 

  1. Know the market

Indeed, Glassdoor, and Salary.com are all places that will give you some good numbers around what the market is paying for particular roles in particular geographies. However, you may bring with you some niche skills or experience that has additional value in the market. A niche recruiter can be a very good resource in these situations. If you are going to ask for a higher salary than what the market seems to be paying generally, you need to bring with you some substantiation of your requests, and know that even if you are able to educate an employer on why you are worth more than the average candidate and are offered what you ask, ultimately if they have not budgeted for such things,  you risk the chance of being the first to go should the financial constraints of hiring you prohibit their strategic plans to invest or spend in other areas. You are also going to be held to a higher standard and had better not only deliver the goods, but continue your campaign to promote that you are delivering the goods; do not assume it will be acknowledged. People are usually very skeptical of an “overpaid suit.” You will have the stigma to combat until you earn people’s trust.

 

  1. Have a Plan B

If you really cannot afford to take a pay cut, or you really do not want to lower your standards of living, you can find other ways to make up the difference in your salary, such as investing in real estate, businesses or other financial products. You could do some consulting or coaching on the side, pending it will not be a conflict of interest with your employer. You could write a book or develop an online course. You could become a paid speaker. Let’s face it: you have managed to earn more than your professional counterparts, others will want to learn how you did it – you have something very valuable to teach.

 

You might not have thought being well-paid was such a detriment until you find yourself justifying it, defending it, or even wanting to hide your pay. (I do not recommend hiding your pay. People have their ways of finding out and you pose an even bigger risk as someone who is not forthcoming or even deceitful.) Keep in mind the employer’s perspective. Chances are if you have been on the hiring side you can completely empathize with their concerns, and, if this is so, definitely express that.

You may have to address your salary upfront, which is contrary to other negotiation advice, to get the chance to interview and establish your value, and then, once you have them interested in your value, you will have to address it again when it comes time to design a compensation package that works for all parties. Keep in mind that most employers want you to be a creative problem solver, so think of this as one of the things that you can creatively resolve in partnership with your employer to further demonstrate that you are exactly who they want.

 

Everything You Need Above the Fold of Your Resume to Get an Interview in 6 Seconds

Phone Talkin' by Martin Cathrae of Flickr

Phone Talkin’ by Martin Cathrae of Flickr

WARNING: This article is chock-full of expert space-saving tips. Shhh. Don’t tell the other professional résumé writers I shared this.

You used to have a whopping seven to ten seconds to grab the attention of the reader and elicit an interview. Tracking studies of recent years suggest that you may only have six seconds, perhaps even less. Whether these studies are scientifically credible or not, my practical experience has taught me that the more time you can save the reader in making a decision about whether you make the short list of candidates or not,  the less friction there is between you and sliding into your next job.

The prime real estate of your résumé lives above the fold, in other words, what the reader can see on their computer screen before they have to scroll down. They most likely will take a few extra seconds to scroll down, check through the dates of your work history, and examine your education and training, but it is what they see first that determines if they scroll down with a perception of optimism or skepticism. Your mission throughout the qualification and interview process is to inspire the employer to be more focused on your value and contributions and less focused on any potential risks you pose.

Here is what you can do in the top fold of your resume to compel recruiters to put their hand on the phone to call you for an interview before they even realize they’re making the call.

 

Contact information

This may seem very obvious. Of course, you want your future employer to be able to know how to contact you after they excitedly see your resume and understand your value. You also need to know that your contact information should not be stored in a header. Very often, applicant tracking systems do not extract and store data from headers, footers, or tables.

Expert space-saving tips:

  • Fit all your contact information on one line.
  • You do not need to include your street address (unless you are filling out a government application that requires it). City, state, and zip are enough.
  • You do not need to identify a phone number as a phone number or email as an email.
  • If you have a very long LinkedIn URL (even after customizing it), use a link shortening tool like bit.ly.

 

What you want do

Let people know what you WANT to do. Employers will not assume that you are automatically going to be pursuing a title that was identical to your last position. In fact, if you were in your last role for three years or more, a company offering strong career development would more likely want to assume that you are ready for the next step. Do not make the reader invest time trying to figure out where you fit in their organization. It is true that titles can vary from company to company, so it is best to find a two to three word phrase that best describes the function, role, or contributions that you AIM to make. Only list your current title if you are hoping for a completely lateral move.

While this may seem obvious, the positions for which you are applying (or, preferably, for which you are getting recommended), have to correlate with the role you identify in your headline. If they do not correlate, you can either not expect a call back, or expect that when they do call back you will spend more time talking about what makes you think you can do this role, and less time on how successfully you can fill this role.

Expert space-saving tips:

Place your role at the very top of the résumé, perhaps even on the very top line across from your name, like below, rather than using an extra line in between your contact information and your summary. Once you identify this role, you can use the first few words of the summary to offer an alternate title, or an even more clever “Noun Action Verb” phrase* that visually depicts the impact you make. See the example under the next section.

* We offer mad-lib-like DIY content building tools for your summary, résumé, and LinkedIn profile.

resumeexample-05162016


Make sure you’re qualified

When you read job descriptions you can see very clearly, usually, how many years of experience an employer wants and what the required skills are needed to succeed in that job. Make sure they know right away that they are getting what they want. Quantify the years of experience that you have or the level of expertise that you possess in the top three to four skills that are required to be successful in the job you are pursuing.

Expert space-saving tips:

  • Start out with your overall years of experience, and if it is niched to particular industry you are pursuing, say that right away.

E.g. “Profit Optimizer offering 20+ years of pharmaceutical experience.”

  • When you mention your other skills in the summary, put them into the context of the value they have enabled you to offer throughout your career, and take it EVEN further by depicting the impact of that.

E.g. Utilize vast knowledge of hundreds of financial products to customize packages that meet very specific client needs and cultivate rapport and loyalty among the client base.

  • You may also want to include a list of three to twelve key skills associated with the job. Instead of tables, (which as I stated may not be stored in an applicant tracking systems) use columns.
  • Some people use functional breakdowns.

 

How you do it better/different

You can see from the example above that is very possible to use fewer words and yet paint a compelling picture of what it would look like to have you adding value versus any other equally qualified candidates. Additionally, you can assume that while candidates usually come to the table with a unique blend of experiences, they will not be interviewed if they do not meet the minimum qualifications. In order to move past them, you will need to sell a unique brand. You will receive interviews based on meeting qualifications, but you will receive offers based on how you mesh with the people and culture of the organization. Do not just say you do it better; let the reader know HOW you do it better. What is your unique approach, experience or perspective that enables you to deliver in a way others do not?

Expert space-saving tips:

  • Use words that will pack the most visual punch, and you will not have to use as many words. In a little less than two lines in the example above, we qualified this candidate as deeply knowledgeable about financial products, a required skill for the position.
  • We also DEMONSTRATED rather than STATED this candidate is customer-focused and that she maybe able to bring clients with her. Clichés have little meaning to the reader, but clients have great value!

 

Your most recent experience

Regardless of what components and sections you include above the fold, do not exceed the fold. Leave room to start your actual professional experience. Some recruiters will even tell you that they do not read your summary at all and to exclude it. That is because summaries are hardly ever compellingly written – TRUST ME. If you are adding value by branding yourself with this section, AND you are providing content that the recruiter can use to write the candidate marketing summary for their client, it is worth including. The point is, though, getting to the point. All of the space-saving tips above are meant to help you utilize as little prime real estate as possible while adding the most value.

The faster you can help the reader complete their agenda, the faster they can pick up the phone. Here are some bonus expert reader-friendliness tips:

  • Use a font of at least 10.5.
  • Do not overuse formatting enhancements (bold, italics, underline).
  • Some studies suggest that color in résumés attract the most attention and many other recruiters will tell you that the content is all they care about (unless you are a graphic designer).
  • For that reason, do not use pictures– they can visit your LinkedIn profile to see the person behind the résumé.
  • Put the company and city on one line, the title underneath, and put all dates along the right margin using columns (you may need to go to formatting settings to make sure that the columns are not of equal length and can be adjusted to accommodate longer company names/cities).
  • Start bullets all the way over at the left margin.
  • Do not use abbreviations, even for months.
  • Use numerals whenever possible, but strike a balance and put numbers into context of challenges and skills applied, as well as the impacts. People remember stories, not numbers.

 

E.g.

 

resumeexample-0516201602

[This is where a role/company summary would go, where you can explain your functions and save the bullets for achievements.]

 

Remember, if implementing these tips (while designed for the avid do-it-yourselfer) becomes a large investment of your time, consider allowing us to take over. These are not the only tricks up our sleeve. The sooner you get into your next job, the sooner you can bring in income, and our résumés have been known to maximize salary offers, so they are worth the investment.

 

The EPIC Way To Celebrate 10 years – Boldly Embarking On A New Adventure

And-for-that-one-moment-Kelliee More

On June 2, 2006, I was called into my boss’ office (I was reporting to two people). I received the news that I was being let go. I had been laid off twice before, and had been fired twice before, but this news was the best news I could have received at the time.

Earlier that year, I had been put on probation and asked to work under a mentor, the late, great Allen Astra, to make sure that I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing. I had not made a placement in two-and-a-half months. This was after being offered the opportunity to work with a coach, the late, great Sheila Kutner, aka, “The Velvet Hammer.”

After two months on probation, I was given the chance to ask the account managers that I was working with to come into the board room with us, along with my mentor, Allen. They let me take the lead and confront them directly. Their general feedback was that I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing to identify and present suitable candidates for their job openings, so I asked them for specific instances where quality candidates were not delivered. When no specific instances could be cited, my bosses then realized that it was a perception problem, not a performance problem, and my reputation was redeemed. I was no longer on probation, and I was to be assigned more viable jobs. However, I still was not feeling great about my job.

I had already realized that recruiting no longer fulfilled me. The seeds planted five years earlier to becoming a career coach before being laid off the first time were growing, pushing through the soil and begging for water, nutrients, and sunshine. Sheila helped me realize that I was the only thing standing in my way. What more did I need to know? Well, how to run a business, for one. She helped me devise a six-month plan that had started January 1st of that year. I joined a professional organization and took courses on career planning and résumé writing by one of the industry’s founders, Jay Block. My target date to quit and start my company was June 1st.

I had only saved up $1500 (this was a few months after Tim and I honeymooned in New Zealand, and the year after we threw a wedding for 250 guests, so there wasn’t much left in our account).  I figured I did not need much overhead if I could land clients right away.

On Friday, May 13th, my 13-month old cat, Lucy, was hit by a car. The impact was to her head and face. We almost lost her on the way to the animal hospital. They gave her a 50/50 chance of surviving, and they thought her jaw was broken. The bills were $1200, but she recovered in two days and on Mother’s Day I was able to take her home. She’s still with us today and I never lamented spending that money.

I delayed my plans until I could save up another $1300, but my plans, I suppose, were not meant to wait.

 

Where-words-fail-music-Hans

On June 2nd, after being told just two months before that I was the right person for the job, though knowing the job was not right for me any longer, I was told that I would have one month’s severance and be eligible for unemployment benefits. They were letting me go, with no specific reasons. It did not matter…this was exactly what I wanted. Without that push out the door, who knows how long I would have stayed just to feel more financially comfortable and stable, only to feel increasingly dissatisfied in my role.

On that same day, I drafted an e-mail to all my friends, family and former colleagues, announcing my new résumé writing company, Charésumé (charisma + résumé, which was rebranded as Epic Careering in 2012) and asking them to visit my website. My website had been lovingly put together by my brother-in-law, a CTO, in exchange for my résumé writing services– my first client.  A company was born, and I was reborn as an entrepreneur.

I am celebrating the 10th anniversary of that fateful day the EPIC way– there has been an idea rolling around in my head since reading “Think and Grow Rich” several years ago, and I will be finally testing this idea out on a much smaller scale.

It is a Career Revival Concert.

re·viv·al  (rĭ-vī′vəl)

n.

1.

  1. The act or an instance of reviving: the revival of a person who fainted.
  2. The condition of being revived.

 

  1. A restoration to use, acceptance, activity, or vigor after a period of obscurity or quiescence: a revival of colonial architecture; a revival of the economy.

 

  1. A new presentation of an old play, movie, opera, ballet, or similar production.

 

4.

  1. A time of reawakened interest in religion.
  2. A meeting or series of meetings for the purpose of reawakening religious faith, often characterized by impassioned preaching and public testimony.

 

  1. Restoration to validity of something lapsed or set aside, such as a legal claim or status.

 

This combines sermon-like job search education with the emulsifying, healing, connecting powers of LIVE music.

Music-can-change-the-Bono

 

On June 2nd, I would like to invite you to celebrate 10 years of Epic Careering with me. I’ll be doing a very short version of the Career Revival Concert – three songs with three mini-lessons, at open mic night at The Whitpain Tavern around 8:30ish.

I hope you can join me and bear witness to what could be the birth of a new way of helping job seekers, and offer valuable feedback that will help me make the CRC the most effective edutainment job seeker event possible.

Thank you for being a supporter to Epic Careering reaching this momentous milestone. Thank you to the hundreds of clients who have entrusted me to help you reach the next level in your career. Thank you to the family and friends who have cheered me on, cared for my children, and referred your loved ones.

 

Adventures ahead, ALWAYS.

 

You’re Not Really Fooling Anyone with Positive Thinking

Brain-to-brain (B2B) communication system overview, PLOS ONE http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0105225.g001

Brain-to-brain (B2B) communication system overview by PLOS ONE http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0105225.g001

Every single person has encountered an obstacle while pursuing a goal, be it changing jobs, starting a company, selling a home, retiring, and on and on. What do you do when that obstacle is staring you down?  Do you freeze in fear, then come down on yourself for procrastinating? Do you resign that the obstacle will mow you down and let it? Do you run toward it with greater momentum to overcome the obstacle? Do you zigzag around the obstacle? Do you ask your friends to help you and march arm in arm toward that obstacle? Hopefully, you will do one of the latter because in the first two examples, you are the obstacle. Your perception of the obstacle’s size and power compared to your own could be the actual thing that prevents you from succeeding. Of course, you want to address these obstacles pragmatically, but if you don’t address them holistically, the pattern will recur and you will find yourself facing similar obstacles over and over again.

I have developed programs, such as our Dream Job Breakthrough System, tools such as the Epic Careering Took Kit, and of course the one-on-one coaching I have provided since starting 10 years ago. While these are PRACTICAL guides in how to execute a successful and optimal transition, I have a personal and professional obligation to address the EMOTIONAL components of a job search. Emotional components are what make the difference between my clients following the steps with integrity to successfully and swiftly land and prolonged job searches, weakened momentum, and lower quality job offers (compared to what they could develop).

Most people perceive positive thinking to mean that in spite of your doubts, fears, resentments, etc., you put on a happy face and fake it. This almost always fails. Being positive is not the same as thinking positive, and it takes conscious effort to alter subconscious patterns that have most likely been with you for most of your life, often go unnoticed until you know how to identify the symptoms (usually unhappiness and dissatisfaction), and have ingrained neural pathways.

Interviewers use six senses to evaluate and qualify candidates. Even if you are trying your best to disguise your innermost doubts and fears, the interviewer is using intuition to tune into them. Even if you have a killer résumé and an answer for everything, you could still emit negative thoughts and energy. Recruiters rely heavily on gut feelings and they will ask questions to validate them, so exactly what you may want to hide could be exactly what they will ask you about. Questions are not just designed to identify competence, but also to expose positive and negative behavioral and mental patterns. The agenda of the interview is to identify each candidate’s unique value and unique risk. As the candidate, you want the interview more focused on your value, but your fears around the potential risks you pose can sway the interview more heavily toward mitigating risks, which diminishes your ability to build a competitive case against other contenders.

If you interview during a period of self-doubt, you will instill little faith in your abilities. Likewise, if you walk into an interview perceiving the interviewer as an adversary, he or she will sense your antagonism and act accordingly. Consider yourself screened out. The same is true in negotiating. If you expect the person to turn down your counteroffer rather than attempt to find a win-win solution, you will be turned down and both of you will lose.

None of us can change over night, but our brains have plasticity, so we can exercise our brains into condition to do amazing things.  This explains a lot of the stories of people who have accomplished what many thought impossible. It requires practice and determination, just like training for a physical feat. You must have patience and forgiveness for yourself if you fall short and reward yourself for your efforts and progress.

Disclaimer: I am not qualified to give psychological advice and I am also prone to negative thinking and I face difficulties in reversing that thinking. However, over the past eight years, I have avidly studied human performance optimization, quantum physics, and neuroscience. I have invested well over 10,000 hours in this study, and have become much more adept at minimizing the friction that negative, self-limiting thoughts cause. I see and experience, so I believe in acknowledging, confronting, releasing, and replacing these thoughts with ones that produce the good results you hope your actions will have.

For instance, being self-employed brings with it many moments of uncertainty. I know I am in the profession that I was made for, however, finding the balance between investing in projects and products, and generating revenue and cash flow has been tricky, especially over these past four years as I build a mobile app and other low-price point job search tools and products. Once I made up my mind that I wanted to generate a regular, predictable income, and took inspired action, I not only generated multiple opportunities, but I also had several come out of the blue, and ultimately accepted a position that aligned me with a highly reputable, quality-focused outplacement provider (CCI Consulting) that enables me to do exactly what I love to do with as much flexibility as I want.

Meditation, prayer, writing, yoga, fitness, hiking/biking, and eating well have done wonders for my self-awareness and self-esteem. In addition, below are some resources that you can investigate on Amazon.com and there are even some free audio versions of the books on YouTube. Many of these can be found on CD or DVD:

7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey

The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod

Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill

The 8th Habit, by Stephen Covey

The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

How Full Is Your Bucket?, by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.

The Brain That Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge

Radical Careering, by Sally Hogshead

Secrets of the Hidden Job Market, by Janet White

The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne

The Science of Getting Rich, by Wallace D. Wattles

Having It All, by John Assaraf

The Laws of Spirit, by Dan Millman

If you are like me, a questioner, according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies, you need to understand the science behind why investing time on your thoughts impacts your reality before you take any action. Here are some great books on that:

How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain: The New Science of Transformation, by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman

The Biology of Belief, by Dr.Bruce Lipton

The Field, by Lynn McTaggart

The Intention Experiment (Read The Field first), by Lynn McTaggart

Being positive vs. thinking positive does not mean that you will suddenly become a perfect person; we are all still human. It means that you will have greater awareness when your thoughts are not serving you, and you will have tools to change their impact so that you will see better results more of the time.

 

This sounds like therapy, but I liken it to coaching because it is not as much about validation as it is about accountability. It is nice to understand how we became the way we are, but it is much more critical to our happiness to be empowered to change ourselves and our world.