Archives for July 2016

5 Ways to Be Your Own Best Boss in Your Job Search

Yosr works as a consultant by World Bank Photo Collection of Flickr

Yosr works as a consultant by World Bank Photo Collection of Flickr

 

A revelation to me in my personal development journey was learning that we actually train others how to treat us. So, if you keep finding yourself on the receiving end of bullies or on the giving end of those who constantly take, the reason is: they have learned from you what is acceptable.

This fact can be a hard pill to swallow, but the sooner it is acknowledged, the sooner you can set new expectations on how you want to be treated. It may seem as though this could be difficult with the people closest to you, and easier for people you have yet to meet. The true challenge, however, is learning to treat yourself like you want to be treated.

Though it has taken me all summer, I have finally finished Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better than Before. In the last chapter she shared a strategy that she uses to keep herself on track toward her goals, which is to consult her inner manager. She is an upholder, which means her tendency is to only make commitments that she knows that she can keep, both to herself and others, and then to keep them.  She is still subject to the self-talk that threatens to deviate her from her plan to achieve her goals, however. When that happens, she consults with her and her manager, who is both her boss and her employee.

When you are job searching, you are your own boss, even if you have a coach to help guide you in specific activities and to whom you can be accountable. It is still you everyday that must wake up and do what needs to be done, and still you who reaps the benefits, or suffers the consequences of not doing what needs to be done. More often than not, I have seen how job seekers make themselves suffer if they hit a slump, and this leads to a downward spiral. We are often harder on ourselves than we would be on someone else, or even than we would want someone else to be to us.

I know there are a lot of things to think about and do when you are searching for a job, but it can also be a great opportunity to learn new ways of treating yourself that can enable you to set better expectations for other people, including your future boss.

Here are five ways that during your job search you can be a kind manager to yourself:

 

  1. Set clear daily, weekly, and monthly goals

Last week I offered examples of SMART goals that will help you land. Feel free to use them for yourself or model your own SMART goals after them.

 

  1. Reverse-engineer and schedule your workflow

You may have heard the advice to treat your job search as if it is your job, which means most people tend to spend their 9-5 on searching. I am more of a proponent of working smart versus hard, a la Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek. If the SMART goals that you set are ones that do actually help you generate momentum, then managing a schedule is really more about allocating time for those activities, some of which may be in the evening. I truly believe that it is more about the quality of the time invested and not about the quantity. While it seems these days that people have to be on the clock outside of normal business hours, true work–life integration means being off the clock sometimes during normal business hours.

 

  1. Manage, track, measure, and improve

In business it is widely known that you cannot manage what you do not measure and you cannot measure what you do not track. What if the SMART goals that you set are not helping you build momentum? How will you know what to change or improve if you aren’t tracking your activities? This is exactly the reason that we offer our Epic Careering Tool Kit as part of our coaching programs and for individual sale. If you are your own boss, what matters most? That you are doing the activities that are supposed to get results, or that you are getting results? Ultimately, it is about the results – quality job interviews that lead to offers. Keep track of what you are doing so that you can identify what is working and what is not and make improvements that make a difference in your results.

 

  1. Take time for self-care

If you are working smarter rather than harder, that should leave you with some extra time. With this extra time, take care of the things that tend to weigh on your mind and zap your energy. This could be doctor’s appointments that you’ve been putting off or home projects. This could even mean confronting someone with whom you have had a conflict. If you find that you think about these things pretty regularly, take care of them and you will find that you feel lighter, have more energy and are more capable of showing up as your best self. Use this time to engage in activities that bring you joy, or try new things that might teach you something you have yet to discover about yourself.

Many people forego a vacation while they are job searching, but I can’t tell you how many times a client or friend returned to great news about a job offer after taking a vacation. Or they just generally felt more capable of taking on the challenge of landing their next career adventure.

Set clear boundaries on your time, which requires clarity on what is most important to you.  If you better understand why these boundaries exist, you can more confidently enforce them with yourself and with other people. Remember, if you do not respect your own boundaries, no one else will.

“There’s a place in you that you must keep inviolate, you must keep it pristine, clean, so that nobody has the right to curse you or treat you badly. Nobody – no mother, no father, no wife, no husband – nobody, because that may be the place you go to when you meet God. You have to have a place where you say ‘stop it.  Back up.’

 

“Say no, when it is no. Say so. Back it up,” Angelou continued.  “Because that place has to remain clean and clear.”

 

  1. Celebrate and reward good performance

Celebrate every little victory. The more your brain associates good feelings with the activities that you need to do, the easier it will be to form good habits around those activities, whether you believe they are enjoyable or not. You could use Gretchen Rubin’s strategy of pairing, meaning combine the activities that you do not enjoy so much with activities that you do enjoy, such as listening to music while you do research, or coloring while you make phone calls.

One thing that keeps me from getting sucked into social media distraction while I’m working is to use checking Facebook as a reward for finishing my most critical to-dos. This also helps me associate checking Facebook with good feelings, as opposed to the guilt I might feel if I’m doing it instead of what I’m supposed to be doing. The better I feel, the stronger my will is to continue with good habits and abstain from bad ones.

 

I encourage you to evaluate whether you have been a good boss or bad boss to yourself. Perhaps you have been too hard on yourself, or perhaps you have not been expecting enough of yourself. Give to yourself what you feel you have been missing. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated. Once you learn how to set and enforce high expectations of respecting yourself, you will be much more capable of training others, including your next boss, to treat you with the same level of respect.

 

5 SMART Job Search Goals That Will Get You Landed

SMART by Pshegubj of Flickr

SMART by Pshegubj of Flickr

The act of setting goals is not what moves you toward the ultimate reward of landing the job, but people who set goals are 42% more likely to achieve them when they write them down. My students write SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, Time-bound) goals for their career as part of an assignment. When the goals are specifically focused on job search activities, they tend to drastically underestimate the activity needed to create actual momentum. I have created five SMART job search goals that I have found adequately enables clients and students alike to build momentum week after week. This allows them to generate multiple viable opportunities, create demand that increases their market value and self-worth, and makes them feel empowered to make a choice that is best for their career and life.

 

  1. Spend 80% of your job search activity proactively pursuing leads in target companies. Identify 10 new target companies each week through networking, LinkedIn, business journals, and professional organizations.
  1. Add 25 new LinkedIn contacts each week by searching LinkedIn’s suggested “People You May Know” and exploring various realms and communities with which you engage. Send 10 customized (straight from the contact’s profile) invitations every day, knowing that not all invitations will be accepted.
  1. Have one meal or coffee a day with a contact or friend, even if virtually. In each conversation and correspondence (including LinkedIn invitations) invite the person to reconnect or get better acquainted. Use this time to share personal or professional initiatives or challenges with which you can both use assistance and to introduce each other to people who can move you forward. Procure five new job leads each week this way.
  1. By asking “superconnectors” in your network, leaders in your industry and checking event sites like Meetup.com and Eventbrite.com, identify 10 worthwhile events, and commit to attending six each month that work with your schedule. Share these events with other people to add value to them, and to see if you can partner with someone who can make the other four events. Acquaint each other with the network contacts that would add the most value and network on each other’s behalf. Add new connections from 20 of your target companies and make 20 introductions for your networking partners each month.
  1. Stay at the top of your network connections’ minds and establish thought leadership by posting one thoughtful social media post daily. Follow active LinkedIn group discussions, share and comment on the relevant posts of Influencers, and try something a little more advanced each week, working your way up to Facebook Live videos or Periscope broadcasts, with the intention of increasing followers/fans by 10% each week.

 

Professor Gail Matthews at Dominican University also found that 70% of people who shared their goals achieved them while only 30% of those who kept their goals private had that much success.

So, if you really want to achieve your goals of landing a great job, write down these SMART goals, or create some other ones for yourself, and share them with someone who can help you stay accountable. Check out our toolkit, designed to help you track, measure, and improve your activities and your results every week.

 

If you do not want to achieve the goal of landing a job swiftly, consider that the job for which you are looking may not be the right one and get in touch with us so we can help you identify something that excites you more.

 

Four Experts Agree: Smart People Engage Coaches

Time is Money

Time is Money

 

If I had a nickel for every time a client told me…

“I would ask them what they think of my new resume, but I don’t want them to think I’m crazy for spending the money to have it professionally written.”

Or

“I don’t know if my spouse is going to go for this. I mean, I need a job, and what I’ve been doing isn’t working, and he/she definitely wants me back to work, but what if we need that money to pay bills if I wind up still looking for a job three months from now.”

Or…

“I would really love to give you a testimonial. You did a fantastic job, but I don’t know if they know I didn’t get here on my own.”

Of course, my clients have every right to keep our relationship confidential, and I completely respect that.

However, in response:

If you haven’t landed or come close to an offer three months after engaging me and you took advantage of everything that I proposed (through a formal proposal process), you get your money back. That is my guarantee.

Also, smart people engage experts, and the experts will tell you that they got where they are because they engaged other experts to help teach them.

Here are four experts who advise that if you want to achieve your goals, don’t spend eight hours doing adequately what an expert can do well in half the time.

 

“The only difference between a rich person and poor person is how they use their time” -Robert Kiyosaki, businessman and author of Rich Dad Poor Dad.

“Today is your day to take total control of your future! Everyone needs a great mentor!” -Bill Walsh, business coach, CEO and founder of Powerteam International.

“Time well spent results in more money to spend, more money to save, and more time to vacation.” – Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker, salesman and author of Better Than Good.

“Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals.” -Tim Ferriss entrepreneur, public speaker and author of The 4-Hour Workweek.

 

Time is money, especially when you are in transition. Every week you spend unemployed or without a job is another week spent without optimal income. I know that it is scary to spend money when you do not know how long that money will last. But if the money you spend in transition is not increasing your chances of bringing in income in the future, then once it is spent, it is gone.

I really do not mind at all if a client wants to take all the credit and keeps me a secret. It is ultimately their wise decision to invest in their success and they were smart enough to choose me.

 

Redefine Your Definition of Freedom

Peace Doves Alice by Popkorn of Flickr

Peace Doves Alice by Popkorn of Flickr

 

If you subscribe to enough newsletters by business coaches or perform enough Google searches on residual income, you will be bombarded by gurus selling the idea of products promising that financial freedom can be yours.

You know the ones…

“For 3 easy payments of $997, you, too, can achieve financial freedom.”

What an uninspired vision.

Do not get me wrong. I would love to be at the point in my life where an income was optional. Nevertheless, does financial freedom equal freedom?

The idea of being financially free sounds so ethereal, so evasive, like such a pipedream, but I’ve found that for every appealing fantasy, there are an equal amount of reservations of living with unlimited income:

Would friends and family presume you were somehow different and “too good” now?

How many people would come out of the woodwork with their hand out?

What kinds of new family drama might ensue because of this windfall?

Would it turn you into a miserable recluse afraid to trust anyone?

What if you could not walk the streets without feeling like a target for pickpockets or even more unsavory characters?

What if the success you achieve just adds to the pressure of living up to expectations you cannot possibly uphold?

 

Does that sound like freedom to you? Even the thoughts themselves serve as shackles.

If we are ever able to get our imaginations to stretch far enough to imagine ourselves without financial worry, a whole new set of worries tend to creep into our thoughts.

But what if we were free from those fears?  What if, no matter what our current financial situation was, we felt secure in our faith that all would be taken care of?

I honestly do not know that many people who possess and practice that level of faith, but let me be crystal clear – surrendering your fate to a higher power is still not freedom.

I don’t mean to say that you can sit back, relax, do nothing, and great things will come to you.  As a matter of fact, I mean the opposite.

I have shared with you before how the word “can’t” is forbidden in my house.  Not only is it forbidden, but it’s not even acknowledged as a thing: “There is no ‘can’t.’ Only ‘I don’t know how yet. ‘”

The concept of freedom that I want you to entertain and try is one in which anything you could want to do is possible – a world without limits. Limits have a tendency to stop us before we even reach them. Or, we let other people who have not even tried to reach them tell us that they are there and we take their word for it. That is certainly not freedom.

I did not write this article to define freedom for you; I wrote it because I want to encourage you to reevaluate your own definition of freedom and furthermore, assess how much effort you have really made to achieve it.

Do not give up on freedom. Do not assume it is not possible for you. Do not decide that there is nothing really all that fantastic about it, or you know right away that you have not discovered an empowering vision of freedom, and therefore it is not really freedom at all.

Here is my empowering vision of freedom:

I wake up every day certain about how I can be my highest self and what actions I can take to fulfill my highest purpose. I let my intuition guide me and trust unwaveringly that as long as I follow it, everything will turn out exactly as it should. I speak from a place of love, compassion and acceptance. Each moment is infused with joy and fun. I expect and therefore notice when something or someone has been put in my path to help me, and I openly receive this assistance. I go to bed each night knowing, with great peace, that I have done everything that was in my power to do, and tomorrow I will be even better.

 

What is your empowering vision of freedom?