Archives for January 2017

Bias is Human, Yet Harmful

Interview by Alan Cleaver of Flickr

 

In my recruiting days I had a Vice President who advised repeatedly, “Refute your bias.”

Obviously there are biases that could get us in legal trouble, but she was more so referring to the more subtle biases that can make us dismiss or favor certain candidates. This advice was not in contradiction to using your intuition, but it was just a way to check ourselves before we make decisions that impact our candidates or clients.

Bias is not always bad or wrong; it is a built-in safety mechanism in which we make associations to decide if we are in any harm. It is automatic and it is human. However, now that our brain has evolved higher intelligence beyond our reptilian, instinctual brain, we can take into consideration much different input and make decisions that are more based on logic. The tricky part is recognizing which part of your brain has made the determination.

How much does bias really interfere, though? Why can it be detrimental?

Last week we talked about how critical EQ and empathy have become to corporate success. Bias, on the other hand, when not accurately and promptly assessed will impose unnecessary limits to what you can achieve with other people. This is because you are, by nature, actually limiting the population with whom you can successfully create or limiting the success that you can have with people for whom you have a bias.

It is easy to see that from a recruiting and hiring perspective, a bias will slant what the right candidate looks like, causing you to overlook someone who does not fit that image, but is the better candidate for the job.

As a job seeker, you may think that your intuition is telling you that a potential boss or co-worker is not someone with whom you could work successfully, and you may either decide to not pursue that opportunity or not to give that opportunity 100% of your effort in expectation that it will not work. This, then becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Biases against the wealthy keep poor people poor. Biases against the poor have the same effect. You may have biases against generations, religions, races, genders, status, roles, opposing teams’ fans, people from a certain area, where people shop, etc.

If I continue to list these, I will eventually hit upon a bias you possess. The question is, will you recognize it? The ability to recognize and evaluate your own bias is absolutely essential to your EQ.

Here are three questions to ask yourself to determine if bias is impacting your perceptions, beliefs and actions, and potentially limiting your success and happiness:

  1. What HARD, TRUE evidence do I have to support my opinion?
  2. What do I still need to know and understand in order to know if I am accurately assessing this person?
  3. Could I be wrong?

Only someone with a high EQ would be willing to accurately answer #3, but just asking these questions in the first place are a great way to raise your EQ.

I would like to disclaim that I believe strongly in developing and using your intuition. I distinguish my bias from my intuition by asking these questions. However, once I acknowledge and remove bias, I lean on my intuition, which is a completely different exercise – one that I’ll save for another time.

 

How has bias impacted you?

 

Now More Than Ever, Empathy and EQ Are Critical

Empathy by Aslan Media of Flickr

THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL POST.

Now more than ever, in a divided country in conflict, organizations and employees will need to find ways to bridge the chasms that continue to grow between ideologies in order to enable an optimized future for us all.

Should these adults just be able to suck it up, work together, focus on the task at hand and get business done? Well, yes. However, studies we have cited in the past have proven that happiness impacts profits, and in this blog our focus is on EQ and empathy, and their impact on profits. Also, we will focus on what YOU as a leader (whether or not you are a manager) can do TODAY to be empathetic, raise your EQ, improve the everyday experience of being at work, and contribute to greater profits.

Why should profits be so important? Because the profitability of businesses enables prosperity by ways of job creation, wage growth, higher spending, and improved quality of life. If there is one thing that can unify us, it is that we would all love to live better.

Empathy is the ability to step into someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective. It requires NOT making assumptions, but rather actively listening to someone else’s story, insights, beliefs and concerns without discrediting or judging them.

Employees with a high EQ (Emotional Quotient) possess the ability to be empathetic. It can be taught or innate, it is facilitated by having a curiosity of others, and a desire to seek to understand. When you have a high EQ, you are not prone to mislabeling others’ emotion, and certainly not calling people names.

Daniel Goleman has purported that EQ is even more important than IQ. Why? It is the human in us all. It is the fundamental desire for love and acceptance. Most of us have our physiological needs met, and beyond feeling safe, Maslow identified that people want to be loved and want to belong. Nothing gets done without people. The fastest way to accomplish anything is through people, even in an age of automation. You still need people to approve, implement and maintain automated systems.

It makes sense, though: The more self-actualized your people are, the better they will perform.

Conversely, failing to address a sense of alienation will promote segmentation and silos that will increase unnecessary bureaucratic and political obstacles to collaboration, creativity, and progress.

What are your alternatives to using empathy to confront conflicts that exist OUTSIDE of business to avoid those obstacles?

Hire only people who agree. Have only customers and vendors who agree.

Good luck with that.

What you can do is simple in that it does not require complex steps, but it is challenging, because it does require that you acknowledge and dismiss your ego when it starts to want to make sure you’re right, that you look good, and that the other person is wrong and looks bad.

WE ALL DO IT! It is just that people with a high EQ can distinguish between an ego response and an empathy response.

 

STEP 1 – ASK

Ask the other person questions that help you understand why something is so important to them. What you might have thought was a lack of values, is really just a difference in experience that places a higher priority on different values. This can take place in a workshop or team-building environment, or it can be a simple one-on-one.

 

STEP 2 – LISTEN

Active listening means that you are listening with the intention of understanding, not responding. If you do not understand something, ask more. I will warn you that the second a person senses that they are being judged, the energy of the exchange shifts. Judging is something we all do. It is okay to admit that you are human. If you recognize that your judgments are interfering with your understanding, admit your fault and reassert your desire to achieve an understanding. It will humble you and put you both back on equal, human ground.

 

STEP 3 – DON’T DEFEND

The purpose of this conversation is NOT to explain yourself. That is your ego’s need to be understood. If the other person has a high EQ, they may be curious about your point of view, too. Be very careful not to negate what they say as untrue, invalid, or irrelevant. You are able to share your point of view without doing that, and this is a practice of EQ.

That’s it. That’s all it takes to start practicing empathy and raising your EQ.

Of course, you can take this practice very far, and the farther you take it, the more you will contribute to your company and the faster you will grow in your career.

Curious how high your EQ is? Take this quiz.

 

If you’re curious to what I have done to improve my own EQ, it was the Landmark Forum. There is one near you. I went in 2008 to help manage the stress that I experienced dealing with other people’s shortcomings only to discover and appreciate the beauty of being human, imperfectly perfect… or perfectly imperfect… or BOTH.

Share with me (us) some ways that empathy (or lack thereof) has been impacting your work life.

 

For Every [Job Search] Problem, There is a Solution

Roots by Tim Green of Flickr

 

…and root cause.

 

The problems show up as symptoms that cause frustration or pain, however, what’s not so easy to identify is the root cause. It is not for lack of trying, and it is not a lack of intelligence either.

When you struggle to find a new job, your insecurities tend to manifest in the strongest ways. They lead you to believe that you are the problem, and make you question if you are deserving of something better, or if something better even exists for you.

Sometimes insecurities manifest as cynicism about people and opportunity. You may start to feel like other people are just too shortsighted to understand how great you could be, or you could feel like business leaders are too focused on numbers to appreciate the person that you are. While that can be true, and you may have seen evidence in your past, I can assure you:

  1. You are not the problem.
  2. You deserve an opportunity that enables you to use your talents, apply your passion, and earn a great living.
  3. That opportunity does indeed exist.
  4. There are people out there who would appreciate the value that you offer, and would enable your success.
  5. Plenty of great business leaders understand that their greatest asset is their people.

When your mindset is dominated by your insecurities, it is naturally challenging to see things the way they really are; you cannot be objective.

The good news is that the problems can be solved, and the symptoms can be relieved, but first we have to identify and “treat” the correct root cause(s).

On January 27th I will be holding a free webinar to divulge the top symptoms people experience that cause pain and frustration during their job search, as well as the most likely root causes. Furthermore, I will be sharing how we “treat” those root causes to alleviate the symptoms and fortify your job search to produce great momentum.

Momentum is the symptom that occurs when you have a healthy job search, and the result of momentum is a sense of empowerment and control over your career destiny. When you have JoMo (Job Momentum), you emanate confidence, attract even MORE opportunities, inspire even MORE job offers, and then the problem becomes choosing which opportunity represents your best chance at fulfillment in your career AND your life. (We also have solutions for that!)

Join us Friday, January 27th and we will help you identify the root cause of your job search pain and present the solution that enables you to land your dream job.

 

Registration is now open and seats are limited to 200.

 

Will Achieving Your 2017 Goals Really Make You Happy?

Void by George Batistatos of Flickr

Have you ever noticed how once you put your attention on something you seem to see it everywhere?

For example, when you decide there is a certain car you want to buy, suddenly it appears all the time.

An odd thing happened this weekend, and I kept noticing a recurring theme in everything I read and everything I watched.

It started as I set a weekend goal to tidy up my house and further my annual goal of clearing out all the clutter in my house. For inspiration I started watching a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism. To get to the point, this documentary was not really about tidying up as much as it was about exploring our attachment drive to acquire stuff. The people interviewed all tend to have a perception based on their own experience that people acquire things to fill a void.

On Sunday morning I watched a Mindvalley video in which Marisa Peer tells the audience that in her experience, which has been working with some of Hollywood’s elite, people seek out fame and fortune because they do not feel like they are enough. They do not feel loved or lovable, and so they seek out love from the public. The video title was “How to Get Absolutely Anything You Want.” I was listening to it as I was coloring in my Mike Dooley Notes from the Universe Coloring Book alongside my daughters. I had to turn the video off, however, as she got into some really sad stories that I did not want my girls to hear. Nevertheless, the theme of filling a void seemed to continue to percolate in my mind.

Even the night before, I saw an older movie on HBO with Angelina Jolie, where she played a reporter driven to land a network job, thwarted by a prediction from a homeless man that she would die. I won’t spoil it for you, but this movie also aligned with the theme of a misguided pursuit of happiness, in which we think one thing is going to make us happy, but the truth is that it is empty. It does not fill our void, and we can either acknowledge that and fill the void with true meaning, or continue to seek out better and better stuff thinking that it will fill the void, but continuing to feel empty.

As I shared last week, I am in the middle of reading Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani. I am right at the part where he talks about how the major shift happened for him and his business grew 400% in eight months. It was after he realized that the goals that he had for his business were not making him happy.

There was even one more thing that I watched and continue to align with this theme. Strange, right?

(Side note: some people ask me how I come up with topics every single week. I have a backlog of ideas, as I see inspiration in so many different places, and you can tell from my weekend activities, that I am constantly seeking out new knowledge and wisdom, and so I tend to find it and feel compelled to pass it on to you. This case was extraordinary, that I could notice a theme so prevalent that I could not ignore it. It was as though I was made to write about it this week, even though I had something else lined up.)

A former client and friend, Jack, started off his year in a pretty epic way. He was one of the first fans to be invited as a fighter on Movie Fights, a show frequented by Kevin Smith (of Mall Rats fame) in which movie geeks engage in passionate debate about various movie topics. Friday’s episode was about the best movie of 2016. I have not seen La La Land yet, and I won’t spoil it for you, but arguments against La La Land in this episode included the superficiality of Hollywood and whether or not we should feel good about the characters, who are trying to decide if they choose love over ambition. (Go, Jack!)

If you are not a career coach like I am, you might not see the connection between this theme and your career. I will tell you now that I have no conclusions to share with you, but I do challenge you to project yourself into the future when you achieve your 2017 goals. Ask yourself, will it be enough? What is enough?

 

Are your 2017 goals designed to fill a void? What would really fill that void?

AND…Will filling that void really make you happy, or can you choose to be happy now? Can you accept that you are enough, you have enough, and you do enough?

How did contemplating these questions make you feel? Did you notice a physical reaction?

What goals can you create, pursue, and achieve that will bring wholeness to your life?

Please, share your thoughts, insights and reactions.

 

My 2017 Plan of Attack

The Eye of the Tiger by Stuck With My Camera of Flickr

 

Attack may seem like a militaristic word, but after much consideration, it fits my current mindset. Like the eye of the tiger, I have my vision in sight and I am feeling poised and ready to take on 2017.

I have my calendar for the year broken down into micro-movements, better known as milestones, but unlike milestones, micro-movements have a bit more flexibility to shift around. I fully anticipate great opportunities arising that I cannot at this point predict, as I am expecting 2017 to be even better than I imagine.

This actually brings me to my first resources – books:

Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On  Your Own Terms, Vishen Lakhiani

I am halfway through this book and have already evaluated 12 realms (shared earlier with you) and created inspiring visions for how I want these 12 realms to be. It was promising to find that I have already made significant progress in a couple of areas. The big thing that I just got from this book, however, is the state of mind I need to be in for exponential growth to occur. Goals are great, but not when they intimidate the JOY from the process. This reaffirms the mindset that I aim to adopt in an even more prominent way, that all of these roles that I assume in my life (mom, boss, CEO, coach, writer, adjunct professor, speaker, singer, etc.) are what I GET to do. I don’t LOVE all of the tasks associated with these roles, but if I maintain this mindset, then I can find the joy in these tasks and feel appreciative that I GET to do them. In turn, this will minimize my procrastination and increase my energy, enabling me to do more in less time.

 

The Originals: How Non-conformists Change the World, Adam Grant

I feel like I should have already read this book. It was brought to my attention by a client who helped the author with the launch. Considering he is local to me, and he seems to share a mission and a philosophy with me, I sense there is potential to join forces, but first, I want to delve deeper into his teachings. I realize that some of the things that I teach particular to interviewing and negotiation are contradictory to that which my peers promote. However, it is because of my experience and perspective as a “recovering” recruiter, my empathy for my clients, and the amazing outcomes these methods produced that I am driven to share them with as many people as possible, in spite of how some of them don’t conform to the traditional practices of my industry.

 

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss changed how I look at meetings, how I delegate, how I invest resources and inspired me to take my hands OFF the things that someone else can do better and faster. As a result, I finally launched my book. Even more important, however, is how I teach my clients to manage their time, making sure they are not spending their time writing their résumés over and over again, but putting their focus where they can make the greatest impact with decision-makers. I have transformed my six-month coaching programs into three-month programs, and I am currently developing a six-week program. I am excited to learn and teach what Tim shares in this book that will help me support shorter and shorter searches for optimal jobs.

 

Emergence: Seven Steps for Radical Life Change, Derek Rydall

Derek demonstrates how wisdom pours through him, as though he just opens himself up and the truth of what really needs attention and love shows up. I love listening to his podcast, “Best Year of Your Life.” I see this quality, too, in Tony Robbins. It is because of who they are and how they are, not what they say or do, that they can be such powerful agents of transformation. I want to learn more about Derek’s journey to discover what I can emulate that will make me more effortlessly, yet powerfully, illuminate my clients’ true brilliance, and teach them to shine even brighter.

 

YOU Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, Jen Sincero

In my year as a Beachbody coach, this book was touted as the #1 go-to personal development resource. Most of the time, I do feel like a Badass, and I feel myself embodying this more and more. However, there are still those moments and thoughts that threaten to knock me off my path and out of pace. Again, I want to know if this is a resource I should be sharing with my clients, many of whom have self-limiting beliefs that tend to manifest as they form new habits, expand their comfort zones, and embody their brand.

 

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, by Norman Doidge

This book may change, since it was published in 2007, and so much more has been discovered about the brain since then, but it is highly acclaimed by the neuroscientists that I follow today. Why do I study the brain? What I was taught in school about the brain has been nullified by what they have discovered in the past 10 years. We are much more capable of changing our brains, a phenomenon they call neuroplasticity, and our brain is ultimately responsible for more of our reality than we knew before. When I started learning about the Law of Attraction in 2008, I needed to understand if there was any science to how our thoughts impact our reality. I found answers in neuroscience and quantum physics, and what I have learned since then has helped me be a better coach. I can help my clients override the neural patterns that keep them from attaining the change they so desire.  I will read one book on the brain, and I promise to share with you what it is and what I learned.

 

My 2017 company goals include:

  • Joining the National Speakers Association
  • (Re)starting a online community that will serve as a focus group for a 30-day Law of Attraction program
  • Building a back-end for Accelerfate, my job search mobile game, and put it in the hands of users
  • Engaging and training two like-minded professionals to use the Epic approach to help me support even more job seekers in 2017
  • Wining an industry award, submitting a résumé or two for a TORI (Toast of the Résumé Industry) award. BIG on my list > this is the last year I am eligible to win the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list, or any other 40 under 40 list.
  • Landing a prestigious speaking gig

 

Events I plan on attending:

AwesomenessFest, better known as A-Fest

This happens twice a year in two exotic locations. This year’s first event is May 17-20 in Ibiza, Spain. I have never been to Europe before. I would certainly want to see more of it before coming back, but would also want my family to be with me.

 

Any Tony Robbins event

This is a bucket list item that I am feeling more and more compelled to check off. The more immersed I become in communities committed to personal and professional development, and the more I find myself quoting his videos, the more I realize that I do have a date with destiny.

 

An HR Tech conference, two of which I am examining:

HR Tech October 10-13 in Las Vegas, NV

Workhuman May 30-June 1 in Phoenix, AZ

 

A Career Development conference

National Career Development Association annual conference June 28-30 in Orlando, FL

 

I look forward to reviewing this list and what I accomplished at year’s end. In the meantime, 2017, here I come!