Archives for Karen

“Can You Teach an Adult Compassion?”

 

This was a question posed by a friend on mine on Facebook. Some were under the impression that you can’t.

My answer:

“You can develop emotional intelligence through mindfulness techniques, but that would have to be voluntary.

‘I tried to find a video I saw (I thought it was Samantha Bee) where they brought global warming deniers through a kind of fun house type of experience where they experience the devastating effects of climate change for themselves. The fear inspired by the special effects changed ~60% of their minds. [I still can’t find this, but I will continue to try. Maybe it was Tosh.O or Sarah Silverman.]

‘There are experiments going on right now with virtual reality. I believe this was either Jane McGonigal or her sister who did a VR experiment on compassion and conservation. [It was Jane who mentioned it, but it was not her experiment– here is the video.] Apparently, participants who cut down a sequoia tree in virtual reality were [more likely to recycle.] Fascinating! There is so much tremendous research going on right now and breakthroughs on the way.”

I also added a fun fact to the thread:

“Did you know under normal circumstances the part of our brain responsible for emotional intelligence doesn’t start to develop until our third decade of life?” [Correction: it doesn’t become fully functional until our 3rd decade of life.]

The insula and anterior cingulate are the parts associated with self-awareness and social awareness. You can absolutely accelerate development of these parts of your brain and the neural circuits through mindfulness techniques. [Cited from Neurowisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness, and Success by Mark Waldman and Chris Manning, PhD]

I should also point out that development of this part of the brain can also be inhibited. Those who grow up bullied, overly criticized, abused, neglected, etc. are likely to become the ones whose self-talk is overly critical.

Being overly self-critical increases your tendency to find error in everything and everyone. Adjusting your self-talk to be more compassionate stimulates neural circuits associated with empathy. [Also cited from Neurowisdom.] Just like building muscle through repetitive motion and skill through practice, the more you use these neural circuits, the more you will develop compassion for yourself, and others as a byproduct.

So, to follow that further, the people who are most critical of others are the ones who are hardest on themselves.

It seems quite hypocritical to vilify people who are not demonstrating compassion. Science tells us what they need is to love and accept themselves more. This is what I imagine Ghandi meant when he said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It’s also why believers in the Law of Attraction advise you to “give what you are seeking” to shift your abundance.

If you want people to be more compassionate, show them more compassion. Show yourself more compassion!

That’s a big one! It’s why the fabulous Brené Brown’s research and teachings have been so embraced. We all crave and need more self-compassion.

There are also experiences, apps, virtual reality games, and exercises that have proven to help accelerate self-compassion as well as outward compassion. New studies are being done all the time. It’s important to note that not only can increases in neural activity associated with compassion be measured, but the neural activity DOES impact behavior.

Here are just a few options:

The Compassion Experience transports people into someone less fortunate’s life. It also is backed by research. It is created by a Christian organization and the events are held at churches over a several-day period. I found four in my local area over the summer, including one at my cousin’s church. It is intended to enhance gratitude and compassion in children and to inspire parents to donate to less fortunate children in different parts of the world. The events are free (at least the ones that I saw, but this could be church-specific.)

Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian prayer said to heal and release. There are four simple lines: I love you; I’m sorry; I forgive you; Thank you. That’s it. It’s the simplest prayer ever. It can be said over and over like a chant, or you can say it every time you look in a mirror. You can say it in the morning as you wake, or at night before you sleep, or both. You can say it out loud or in your head. You can say it with your eyes closed or open. You can say it as though you are talking to yourself, or someone else. It’s not really something you can do wrong.

Mindfulness has many different connotations, and not all of them are clinical or accurate. In fact, the word has been misapplied to mean being positive or meditating. There is no particular breathing technique that you have to learn – just NOTICE your breath. Then notice your thoughts. Notice your emotions. Notice your body. Notice the tiny details of things around you. Notice the vibrancy of colors. Notice the beauty of nature or people. That’s it! That’s all there is to mindfulness. It’s an important step toward accepting and allowing what is, including you, without judgment.

Maybe you think this is for someone else less compassionate than yourself. Well, statistically, people believe they are more compassionate than they are, so it stands to reason that anyone might as well become more compassionate.

Let me know if you have tried any of these methods. Let me know if you would like extra assistance with compassion for yourself or others.

Give a Little Bit Singer/Songwriter Roger Hodgson of Supertramp, with Orchestra

“Give a Little Bit has a wonderful message that makes people light up and I get them to sing with me. It really has a message that is very eternal and is needed even more today than it was when I wrote it when I was 19.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a career management firm specializing in the income-optimizing power of social media and personal branding, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify new trends in hiring and personal marketing. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

A Power Mantra for Next-level Professionals

So What by Paolo Mazzoleni on Flickr

So What by Paolo Mazzoleni on Flickr

Two weeks ago I was going through my brother’s senior yearbook. Underneath the seniors’ pictures were captions, including favorite phrases. My niece had some trouble properly pronouncing one of my brother’s choices: “Buuuudy.” This was a quote from one of the 80s most unlikely phenomenons, Pauley Shore. It occurred to me that if he knew nearly 30 years later these phrases would be immortalized and read by his kids, he might have chosen other words, but he was 17.

I took a look at my own senior year caption. It was definitely not what my 40-year-old self would have wanted to immortalize.

So, what would I immortalize now?

I might choose something timeless. There was a phrase that I learned when I had a door-to-door sales job, which became my mantra, “Some will; some won’t; so what? NEXT!”

I still find this completely valid. That door-to-door job I worked one summer was brutal in many ways – hours of walking alone in a suit, even when it was hot and humid, even in sketchy neighborhoods with high crime and incidences of drive-by shootings. It certainly made me more street smart and thick-skinned.

Even though being successful in that job depended upon people (business owners) liking and trusting me, I learned that I didn’t need EVERYONE to like and trust me. Some people just won’t, and the faster I moved on and let go, the faster I could get to the person who would say yes.

With that realization came a level of freedom I hadn’t yet known, and so many of my past pains around not being accepted started to dissolve. Thinking about it now, this was most likely the first taste of personal development that became a hunger, and at times an obsession. I needed that to get to the next level in my profession after that job, and this mantra helped me make better choices. I remind myself of it each time I want to get to the next level, which usually comes with increased visibility…and vulnerability.

I’ve been striving ever since that realization to master being my best self by my OWN standards, and to enjoy freedom in accepting myself, while reconciling how to be the cause of transformation at the scale that I feel is necessary to really make the impact on corporate careering, hiring and engagement that I am driven to make.

So, while it can be fun and freeing to throw caution to the wind when it comes to social media, the consequences of doing that may not align with what you want for the long-term – your BIGGER why.

I’m not advising you to be anyone different for anyone’s sake. Lisa Sasevich, offer communication coach, shared a lesson her father, a famous ventriloquist, taught her, “Don’t change your act, change your audience.”

I finally got around to watching The Greatest Showman last night. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you. I will tell you that while it was inspiring, it was also a warning to not let your desire for acceptance compromise what really matters in life.

My hypnotherapy hero, Marisa Peer, has worked with royalty and rock stars, and shares just how common it is for highly successful people to suffer from not feeling like enough. In fact, it’s what drives them to achieve. Barnum was no different in the movie’s portrayal. The drive to build something extravagant was fed by his need to be accepted. So, sometimes the need for approval can be purposeful and can fuel some big dreams. However, it was also almost the demise of all he held dear.

When being intentional about your brand (you have one whether your conscious of it or not,) remember to honor who you are and what is most important to you in the grand scheme of your life.

Besides, what kind of happiness do you think you can obtain by becoming someone else? How long can that last?

You can be successful and authentic.

What I want people to get about their brand is that it doesn’t mean just mean putting something out into the world to increase your visibility or engagement. A brand AT ITS BEST is an intentional outreach designed to resonate with and attract people who enrich your network and life experience.

If your boss enriches your life, say with a paycheck, and you want to keep that paycheck, then put things out into the world that your boss would appreciate. This implies that you would take time to understand what he or she appreciates and allows before you create and put it out there. However, if you’d rather have a different boss who lets you do you, make sure what you put out in the world reaches that kind of boss, resonates with him or her or them, and inspires them to take action.

Be willing to let go of people, like your current boss, who just don’t get you. And, be willing to give up the paycheck, too. And if you’re not, make an empowered choice to play by your boss’s rules until you gain the freedom to do you.

“Are you picking up what I’m putting down?”

That’s my favorite, more modern version of the mantra, which was the most valuable part of my door-to-door sales experience.

The freedom in this mantra comes from unapologetically and without attachment to the outcome declaring, “This is what I’m doing whether you’re with me or not. If you’re not, I’ll find somebody else who will. If you are, let’s get to work.”

If people aren’t picking up what you’re putting down, consider changing the audience, not the act.

They may not resonate with you at the moment. They may have their own set of blinders, or other priorities. It’s not personal. Move on.

P!nk – So What

P!nk’s official music video for ‘So What’. Click to listen to P!nk on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/PSpot?IQid=PSW As featured on Greatest Hits…So Far!!!.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a career management firm specializing in the income-optimizing power of social media and personal branding, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales.

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify new trends in hiring and personal marketing. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot.

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

Has Overwhelm Sabotaged Your Momentum?

Wipeout by Kellinahandbasket on Flickr

Yes, I want it all. Don’t we all?

Don’t you want to be able to afford the finer things in life – to visit exotic places, and live in a beautiful home, and to give your kids the best education and experiences? You, like me, also want time to enjoy them.

You want to know that the time and talents you devote to work are well-spent, made a difference, and that they’re appreciated.

You want to know that your life made a positive difference.

You want to feel vibrant, strong, and healthy – invincible.

If your reality is far from that, the disparity can seem insurmountable to overcome at times. It can make you feel worse, which is de-motivating and leads to inaction.

Efforts to get closer to the life you want can stretch you further than feels comfortable or even possible at times.

Here was my critical revelation:

“Overwhelm is what happens when things start moving faster

than you have practiced being in alignment with.”

~ Abraham

The phrase, “Be careful what you wish for,” comes to mind. Overwhelm can cause you to kill your big dreams, temporarily or permanently.

May was my month to host book club and I chose The Originals by Adam Grant. Stamina to follow through with big initiatives is one of the key differences he identifies between those who go on to bring into the world disruptive ideas and those who have to default to lending their talents to someone else’s vision.

This was another big a-ha for me. When I first picked up the book I wanted so much to be able to see myself as an Original, and for the most part, I do. But the realization of this missing puzzle piece caused me to delve into deep self-evaluation.

Why was it that I could come up with some brilliant, game-changing ideas, but have not yet been successful in having them adopted on a large enough scale to shift the dominant paradigm in how corporate professionals career, hire, and lead?

Funny thing about questions – once you ask yourself a question, your brain starts to answer it.

I have pattern of asking for things to pick up, then they do, and I want them to slow down.

Can you relate to this?

Most of the time, I consider myself blessed to be such a great vessel for ideas and to be doing work that I find rewarding and meaningful for which I have a great passion. However, my passion is inconsistent and shifts focus. Too many of my great ideas die on the vine. I’d like to think they’re just dormant for now, but when and how do I revive them? How do I make sure that the ideas that come through me that have the potential to really make life better, easier, more fun, etc. get created and get adopted?

Some of my setbacks I wouldn’t change; while my big initiatives are important, my kids are my #1 priority. I have allowed myself a certain amount of grace because I made a conscious choice to be at home with them while they were little, but they’re getting bigger and I have to notice what ELSE I let slow me down. Next year my kids will both be in school full-time, and I can start to assume a more conventional workweek. It’s time to make sure that I take full advantage of the time I have, to figure out how to ride a wave of momentum instead of letting it take me under and wipe out.

I realized that the pattern isn’t just exclusive to my work life, but my fitness, creativity, and social life as well. I go in bursts, and then I shift focus.

But why? I can easily rationalize that it’s because I like variety – I like to be dynamic. I can choose to just be empowered and accept that this is the way I am and the way I like it. However, in order to accept that I’d have to ignore the fact that my professional mission isn’t being fulfilled. I started multiple related initiatives over the years, but didn’t finish the majority of them, such as my app. Whenever I was advised that something had to become my obsession or a full-time job, I took my foot off the gas and put that initiative on a back-burner.

Again, I can justify it, and that’s worked up to now, but I once the kids are in school full-time, a big concession goes away, and I don’t want to let another concession take its place.

  • I have to start seeing myself as someone who makes big things happen in the world, and as someone who can handle all that brings with it.
  • I have to start being bigger than my problems.
  • I have to embody the vision by loving myself into a greater version of myself.
  • I have to trust that it will happen no matter what by embracing the good and the bad that happen along the way as part of my journey, instead of seeing the bad things as obstacles intended by the Universe to thwart me.
  • I have to achieve greater balance in all of the areas of my life that are important to me, so that a sense of deprivation doesn’t lead me to justify stepping back or stepping down from my mission.

The intention is to get aligned with the version of myself that is all of thee above, and to expand my self-image to be the version of myself who welcomes and manages success well.

So, I have a plan and tools to share, and if you have found yourself slowing things down just when they’re getting good, join me.

The tools I will use are time management through block scheduling, and reframing fear and challenges through meditation, visualization, and self-hypnosis.

I will use these tools to generate greater self-awareness so that I continue to refine my plans and actions and continue to make significant consistent progress.

I will label time blocks on a physical calendar in ways that help me keep the bigger picture in mind. For instance, a time block allocated to organizing my desk will be “Getting it Together,” time blocks allocated to paying bills will be “Spreading the Wealth,” and time blocks allocated to fitness will be “Loving the Skin I’m In.” Following this schedule will create balance and freedom, since it will include time for all that’s important for me.

Any time overwhelm occurs, I will tune into my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. I will listen to the conversation I am having with myself that is causing me to feel as though all that is happening is too big or too much for me. I will use self-hypnosis to flip those beliefs around one at a time (which is how hypnosis is done.)

When an opportunity comes along, I will use meditation to make a decision based on my inner-knowing, also known as intuition, to avoid making any decision based on fear – fear of missing out, fear of disappointing, fear of lack of other opportunities. I will only move forward with opportunities with which I feel aligned and that will benefit the greatest number of people and myself, regardless of the potential visibility and/or money. Saying yes to everything has been a recipe for burn out in the past.

When a challenge comes along, I will meditate and ask myself why this is happening FOR me, instead of TO me, and I will tap into intuition that will guide inspired action so that I am pulled to make bold movements forward versus pushing myself and acting with resistance, which has only led in the past to feeling overworked and under-rewarded.

I will be ritualistic about using visualization to maintain a sense of joy in my work, which will help me generate the magnetism that inspires others to get on board with my vision.

I expect that by following this plan, overwhelm will subside and I’ll generate a new sense of power. It may still happen, but I vow to not let it stop me any more. Even by acknowledging it, I am already starting to take away its power.

Stay tuned, and share with me your experience with overwhelm. Tell me I’m not alone. Together, we’ll become expert momentum surfers and bring much-needed solutions into the world.

“The ones crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

~ Steve Jobs

Foo Fighters – Big Me

Foo Fighters’ official music video for ‘Big Me’. Click to listen to Foo Fighters on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/FooFSpotify?IQid=FooFBM As featured on Greatest Hits.

10 Easy Ways to Infuse Optimism Into Your Culture and Life

Choose Optimism image by Aaron Davis with quote by Ray McLean

 

Part 2 of 2: Last week – Looking On The Bright Side: The Real Secret To Success

Generally, organizations and people find change arduous and overwhelming. So, I hope it’s encouraging to learn that there are many very small things you can do to increase optimism, as well as practices that you can encourage in your corporate culture that can make significant change natural and easy.

Allocate special time for these mini-practices and communicate clearly, but concisely, that the purpose is to increase optimism to enjoy the many benefits:

  • Improved problem solving
  • Enhanced motivation
  • Higher performance and productivity
  • Lower stress
  • Better mental and physical health
  • Longevity
  • Increased resilience
  • Better income

Perhaps at the beginning of each meeting, you could allocate 5 minutes, or you can send a friendly reminder each morning that promotes the benefit of a particular mini-practice. None of these practices take any more than 3 minutes. They work best when they are encouraged, not mandatory. Doing one ore many of these will benefit individuals as well as the organization as a whole.

I learned some of these mini-practices from Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, who I saw speak at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women in 2017 and I attended his online masterclass through MindValley. Others came from Dr. Mark Waldman’s book, NeuroWisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness, and Success. Others are the culmination of a lifetime of research and practice in personal and professional development, neuro-hacking, quantum physics, and mind-body research.

Each of these mini-practices has benefits that reach far beyond optimism. Experiment to find which of these practices are sustainable and have the most impact for you. Sustainability is key!

If you’ve tried one before and it didn’t work for you, you can either choose to try it in a new way, or move on to the next. It’s not all or nothing. Make modifications as you see fit!

  1. Meditation as a way to optimism

Before you roll your eyes and abandon reading the rest of this highly impactful post, remember that this is promoting mini-practices – things that take 3 minutes or less! I have spoken to so many people who have been discouraged by their experience trying to meditate. Listen, there are some very complex ways to meditate and there are some very simple ways to meditate. Here are the simplest ways I know:

  • Focus on your breath – the sensations of the air coming in and out. Set a timer. When your mind wanders, notice it without judgment and bring your focus back to your breath.
  • Focus on your muscles – from your head to your toes. Become present to each muscle and fiber and consciously instruct them to relax. I personally find this easier to maintain focus for 3 minutes. Actually, I can spend a good 5-8 minutes here and find it more helpful than a nap in restoring my peace of mind and focus.
  1. Visualization as a way to optimism

The key to visualization is using your imagination and acting as if what you want has already happened. We all used to do this as a kid a thousand times a day. When was the last time you allowed yourself to get into a fantasy where your life is exactly as you’d want it?

  • Imagine the most ideal outcome and let your senses in on the fun. Get into the details – What are you wearing? How does it feel against your skin? Who is with you? What are they wearing? Where are you? What is the weather? What do you smell? What all is possible for you in this magic moment? Who is happy for you or proud of you?
  • Spend 5 minutes per day imagining your best possible self. Optimism starts to increase from day 1 because it helps you shut down some of the chatter of negative self-talk that comes from your logical left brain and engages more of your creative right brain.
  1. Expansion as a way to optimism

Sometimes our growth happens so gradually that we hardly stop to reflect on just how much we’ve grown. If we’re only focusing on the gap ahead of where we are to where we want to be and don’t take time to see how we’ve grown, we take for granted our ability to grow and expand and underestimate what we’re capable of accomplishing.

  • Reflecting on growth is one way you can start to appreciate our own ability to expand and grow. This means looking back at a certain point in time, perhaps a year, or perhaps to the first three months on the job, and recognizing what skills or expertise did not exist in your repertoire. Perhaps there was an influential co-worker or mentor who helped you understand something or helped you gain a new perspective. Maybe you attended a conference where you learned a new practice or tactic. Start compiling a list and add a few at a time.
  • Another way to induce quantum expansion is to try something outside of you comfort zone. This can be, but doesn’t have to be, work-related. I recommend taking a look at the area of your life where you tend to feel the worst about where you are compared to where you want to be. This may be an area of your life you avoid for exactly that reason. For some people initiating a meeting with the CEO is an exercise in expansion. For others, attending an event full of strangers is a highly uncomfortable endeavor. Some need a little more thrill in their life, and may choose activities with a higher level of risk. These are intended to be mini-practices done first thing in the morning, but perhaps a lunch hour is delegated to hit the rock climbing or parkour gym.
  1. Kindness as a way to optimism

The more you practice helping other people without expectation or obligation of anything in return, the more you will expect this from others as well. Even when you experience people being selfish or unkind, you will be more resistant to adopting a pessimistic worldview, because you know that kindness is an individual choice, and if you choose it, others do, too.

  • Send a note of gratitude or praise. This doesn’t have to be a long note – a short paragraph will do. Even in a few short lines, however, be specific about the action or quality you are acknowledging and express how it made you feel or how it impacted you or others. Not only will this make you feel great, it will create positive ripples that continue well past the recipient.
  • Perform a random act of kindness. This doesn’t have to be extravagant. Maybe it means picking up someone’s favorite yogurt on the way into work and putting their name on a sticky note in the fridge where they’re sure to see it. You can choose to be anonymous, but there’s also nothing wrong in this exercise with choosing to be found out, either. In this case the note could read, “I noticed you like this, Jan. Enjoy! ~ Karen.” You could give the violinist in the subway a big tip, or let your waitress’s manager know that she’s doing a great job. It’s doing a little more than being polite, such as holding the door open. Politeness is also something that, when practiced, will increase your faith in people, but this is mini-exercise expects you to go a bit further out of your way, but not much further – 3 minutes.
  1. Gratitude as a way to optimism

If you can take notice and feel appreciation for good things, regardless of how small, and spend time in their significance, you will see how each good thing is really a tiny miracle, and if tiny miracles are possible, larger miracles are also possible.

  • Start and/or end your day thinking of 3 things you are grateful to have occurred over the past 24 hours, regardless of how simple they might be, such as someone letting you merge.
  • Take one thing that happened and “rampage” about it mentally, verbally or in written word, which is really letting yourself get wrapped up in all the good that something is, following one great thought to the next. For example, “I love that I got to spend time with my family yesterday, because when we spend time together playing games we get to know each other on a deeper level and create memories that we’ll cherish for many years to come, which is really what life is all about, and I love the time that I spend creating memories and feeling closer to my family, and knowing that we have each other; it makes me feel safe, secure, and loved….”

How to execute these mini-practices:

As I said above, you can encourage these mini-practices in small ways, such as taking 5 minutes at the beginning of each meeting for one or several, but you will enjoy exponential benefits if you can garner wider participation without obligating anyone while still supporting consistency.

I recommend that you do a 30-day challenge for yourself, and then promote a 30-day challenge for your workforce. It might look like this: Every work day for 30 days you will send an e-mail first thing in the morning that will encourage people to take 3 minutes or less to try a mini-practice, selecting a new mini-practice each day. You may opt to choose a focus for each week, or you can delegate a day of the week for each mini-practice category, e.g. Mondays are for meditation, Tuesdays are for Visualization, Wednesdays are for Expansion, Thursdays are for Kindness, and Fridays are for Gratitude. Have them also take 2 minutes at some point in the day to reflect on whether the mini-practice made a difference and send this to you. After this 30-day challenge for you is over, reward yourself for completing in a way that is meaningful for you.

Then, initiate a 30-day challenge for your workforce to pick one or several of the mini-practices that was most impactful for them and start their day with a mini-practice every work day for 30 days, allowing them 15 minutes after work begins to do this, though people can still opt to be done in less than 3 minutes, plus 2 minutes of reflection sent via e-mail. A standardized form for feedback will help you convert these reflections into usable data that may be very revealing! You may opt to reward all who participate with paid time off, or some other tangible reward, or choose one participant to receive a large reward.

At the end of the 30 days, aggregate and assess the most significant reflections and share the findings with everyone, whether they participated or not. If you find that these mini-practices made a significant impact in a way that is meaningful to your organization, consider instituting a permanent, consistent time allocation for them.

You can also engage Epic Careering to perform a morale and engagement assessment and conduct a more comprehensive participation program, including a workshop. By investing even a half-day immersing your workforce in learning the life skill of optimism:

  • You will send a strong message that their happiness is paramount to everyone’s success
  • They will understand at a deep level why it’s such a critical area of focus
  • You will get more buy-in to the mini-practices at a more meaningful level
  • Everyone will enjoy the exponentially increased benefits

Share with us your optimism initiatives past, present or future.

Beatles “Getting Better” (2015 stereo remix)

This is “Beatles “Getting Better” (2015 stereo remix)” by Lance Hall on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a career management firm specializing in the income-optimizing power of social media and personal branding, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify new trends in hiring and personal marketing. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

 

Looking On The Bright Side: The Real Secret To Success

Don’t Forget About The Silver Lining by JC Winkler on Flickr

[Part 1 of 2 – Next week: How to Infuse Optimism Into Your Culture and Your Life]

Optimism is a highly underestimated quality in workforce culture.

Optimism drives our global and national economy. It also drives our personal economy. Optimism increases the likelihood of success.

100 studies agree that optimism contributes to:

  • Improved problem solving
  • Enhanced motivation
  • Higher performance and productivity
  • Lower stress
  • Better mental and physical health
  • Longevity
  • Increased resilience
  • Better income

Lack of personal optimism leads to depression, illness, and addiction.

A lack of optimism, also known as pessimism, skepticism, or cynicism, is justified considering the widespread disparity between the world we want and the one we live in, which extends beyond our professional outlook and pervades all facets of our lives – health, financial, political, environmental, etc. However, it just doesn’t serve us to be more skeptical than optimistic, although there is critical place for realism, which you might think is the opposite of optimism, but it’s not.

The opposite of realism is idealism, and there is a distinction between idealism and optimism, but there is an application for both of them.

You can reverse engineer a better solution by assuming an ideal outcome is possible. Consider if Roger Bannister assumed he could not break the 4-minute mile just like all runners before him. Then consider how many after him aimed to run even faster, with well over a dozen succeeding.

Contingency planning, disaster recovery, cybersecurity professionals and other people in your workforce who assess and analyze risks, as well as those veterans in your workforce who have experienced prior failures can prevent future failures and losses. Every organization needs these people. However, our human nervous system was not intended to stay on high alert for prolonged periods of time. What an organization can do to protect the wellbeing of these professionals it to  train these employees on healthful stress management and to make sure give them ample time off. There also need to be protocols in place to make sure that, even in a culture of optimism, their expertise is tapped and considered during strategic planning and tactical execution. I will get more specific next week.

In an organization, a lack of optimism fosters an environment of distrust, which will inevitably leads to:

  • Interpersonal conflicts
  • Unmet obligations
  • Unproductive suspicions and drama
  • Micro-management
  • Lower morale
  • More instances of mild to serious illness
  • Increased turnover

Careful of optimism bias. If you are oriented toward optimism, you will naturally create a bias that this orientation is better than any others. If you choose only to hire those who are optimistic, however, you have a talent chasm, not just a talent gap.

You’ll find it much easier to hire if your talent strategy is more based on candidate coachability, values, and skills (in that order) and then imbue your culture with training and practices that promote increasing optimism among your workforce. [We will talk more about this in the next post.]

All the places where optimism is critical for proper engagement and retention of your talent:

  • Optimism that there is a future career path in the company
  • Optimism that your company’s services/products deliver what is promised to clients/customers.
  • Optimism that vendors will deliver
  • Optimism that performance will be recognized and rewarded
  • Optimism that the organization’s leaders are ethical, moral and making good decisions

I’m not an optimism elitist, and I’m not always optimistic. However, based on the science, which I didn’t cite in my usual style because 100 studies were too much to cite, but I can point you to Dr. Mark Waldman’s NeuroWisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness, and Success for a comprehensive compilation of such citations, I make optimism a practice and aim to be more and more optimistic and less and less pessimistic. I have been accused of being idealistic before, and it was assumed when I was a younger professional that I would grow out of it, as if becoming more experienced and wise means being more pessimistic. Again, based on science, this just doesn’t serve me.

It is because of Dr. Waldman’s book and the science he has promoted that I know that there are multiple mini-practices that you can promote in your organization and in your life that will strengthen neural pathways for optimism. I will share a few of them next week.   Until then, keep hoping!

The Killers – Mr. Brightside

Music video by The Killers performing Mr. Brightside. (C) 2004 The Island Def Jam Music Group

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a career management firm specializing in the income-optimizing power of social media and personal branding, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify new trends in hiring and personal marketing. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

How to Deal with Trolls Now That You’ve Gone Viral

Image by Johnny Silvercloud via Flickr. Some rights reserved. https://bit.ly/2Gfznjz

Image by Johnny Silvercloud via Flickr. Some rights reserved. https://bit.ly/2Gfznjz

Some people prefer to stay private, and I can’t blame them; putting yourself out there makes you a target for hateful, argumentative people. And it’s 100x worse now to be visible and on social media than it was in the 2000s. The climate online can be downright toxic. That might legitimately stop you from using social media at all, let alone promoting yourself.

I know that I and probably many, many other branding experts and coaches are advising you to promote your thought leadership and expertise and to find ways to demonstrate your value online, but I also know that if you do that, the possibility exists that you may have to deal other people’s opinions about what you write, and that can be friendly and adult-like in nature or it can be downright uncivil.

Why would someone subject themselves to that?

Well, for any of the following reasons (and you may have your own – please share!):

1)     You have a mission. There is some big change you would like to contribute to and it requires sharing information that is new, in opposition to a dominant paradigm, and/or potentially scary, but the few that you reach are worth the potentially many who will protest and the high emotional fall-out.

2)     There is something you learned that can save many from pain and/or loss.

3)     You intend to be or are a speaker, thought leader, and expert who is sought out by others, and the desire to put your career on autopilot is worth dealing with others’ comments

4)     You are able to focus on the good that can come from it, and the people with whom you will resonate and connect. 

5)     The potential for income that can generate from online activity is worth it.

Like anything, the payoff has to exceed the pain or price.

If you have a friendly worldview, then the payoff is the people. You will love hearing from people and watching them engage in your content. You’ll naturally want to engage back with those who are friendly, but avoid those who are negative.

If you don’t, you will dread comments. You may be more apt to respond to and focus on the trolls than the people who were receptive to your content.

You could be in between, which is a balance worth achieving if you’re going to put yourself out there.

I have enjoyed several articles and a couple videos going viral, and have responded to various kinds of comments from grateful, to creepy, to friendly oppositions, to personal insults, to death threats.

Below are some policies I follow because they tend to enable me to continue enjoying sharing content with the world, even if it is a world divided:

  • Be intentional about what I want my audience to experience, and have it be something positive: Hope, relief, peace of mind, prevention, wisdom, fun, etc.
  • Stay in that emotional place when I write.
  • Re-read it from that same emotional place and edit anything that feels out of alignment.
  • Watch for immediate engagement, and thank, respond to each individual.
  • When the comments start pouring in, batch my time responding to them.
  • Thank those who have positive feedback or are sharing.
  • Engage those who left vague feedback – ask them to share more.
  • Engage those who left negative feedback – not from a confrontational place, but from a curious place – seek to understand before seeking to be understood.
    • If negative feedback includes personal insults, name calling, I either attempt to disarm the troll or I block the individual.
    • If the negative feedback includes threats or sexually-charged content, I report the content. I have even notified an individual’s hometown police department when one comment threatened suicide.
    • If engagement continues, aim to explain my point of view once in as few characters as possible.
    • Do not engage further. If there’s more to get off my chest, I write it down – only for me. I let it sit overnight and only consider sharing it if doing so supports my initial intention for sharing the content in the first place.
    • I don’t block or report individuals to be spiteful. I aim actually to avoid reacting emotionally to anyone’s negative posts. Bullies want an emotional reaction, because it gives them some sense of control/influence. I will weigh very carefully if I can disarm a troll.

You could say trolls are generally naysayers, small-minded thinkers, resistant and stubborn, miserable and just wanting to spread their misery to others.

Or you could accept that trolls are in some pain and need an outlet. Social media makes for easy targets. Hurt people hurt people.  One way to disarm a troll is actually to show them compassion.  I love the story of comedienne Sarah Silverman changing the worldview of the man who tried to troll her.

I may not always feel like I have the emotional fortitude to go down the rabbit hole with someone trying to spew negativity. I also haven’t got time for the pain. I could really let it get to me, but I spent far too many years letting what other people thought of me bring me down. I sometimes have to decide I’m better off not letting it in.

At other times, I feel invincible and impervious to letting other people bring me down. I’ll do what I can to help other people feel that good.

By all means, I resist the temptation to vilify someone else. Attempting to make someone else look bad doesn’t align with who I really want to be, and it just makes me look and feel worse. 

You may or may not be able to change some people’s minds, but you won’t change everyone’s mind. Know when to pull back your energy from the effort of defending who you are or what you think or feel. Consider re-applying that energy.

If you let trolls silence you, you are giving them that power. Far too many solutions are stifled by the fear of what others might think of them.  Nothing worth inventing was ever unanimously supported. You don’t need everyone to like you, and you don’t need everyone to “get it.”  If you’re going to leverage social media, it’s better to accept that not everyone will like you.

Social media may close the gap between you and people you wouldn’t want to know, but it also opens you up to the people and resources that can actually help you put your brilliance to work toward a meaningful contribution. 

Ultimately, if you choose to receive the benefits of the visibility a viral social media post or video can give you, there are ways to manage trolls.

Social media has the potential to make us or break us. Know what you want, and determine what you’re willing to endure to get it.  

If you do decide to share, you are taking on the responsibility of the responses it generates. Use these best practices:

  • Engagement is a good measure of good content, so welcome commentary and reward your audience with your acknowledgment. 
  • When you have a high volume of people respond, batch your time and prioritize comments to respond to based on your original intention.
  • If you have an emotional reaction, write out your feelings just for YOU first. Let that simmer for 24 hours and only include in your response what aligns with your original intention of what you want your audience to feel, learn or experience.
  • Do not engage with a troll past 2 responses – the first to understand, the second to be understood.
  • Digital responsibility means creating a safe space for people to share, so consider using blocking or reporting features if someone threatens the safety of your (or their) space.
  • Take the high road. Rarely does dropping the mic workout online. Someone always tends to pick up the mic right after you and keep the discussion going.
  • Leverage viral visibility by inviting people to engage offline.  

Peter Gabriel – Big Time

The official Big Time video. Directed by Stephen R. Johnson. The fourth single to be taken from Peter’s fifth studio album. The album was his first one to have a proper title and So was a watershed release in his career.

How to Handle Recruiters Wanting to Connect

Image by Jayne K. via Flickr. Some rights reserved. https://bit.ly/2I46fhg

Image by Jayne K. via Flickr. Some rights reserved. https://bit.ly/2I46fhg

(A follow up to: 4 Things You Can Do on LinkedIn to Attract Recruiters)

If you follow my advice from the last post, it won’t be long before you see people you don’t know, including recruiters, sending you invitations to connect.

So, should you accept them?

Here is LinkedIn’s recommendation: “We strongly recommend that you only accept invitations to connect from people you know. You can control who can send you invitations from the Communications section of your Settings & Privacy page.”

LinkedIn Open Networkers (LIONs) subscribe to the school of thought that more connections are better.  LinkedIn will cap you at 30,000 first-degree connections.

The choices you have for who can send you invitations include:

  • Everyone on LinkedIn (recommended).
  • Only people who know your email address or appear in your “Imported Contacts” list.
  • Only people who appear in your “Imported Contacts” list.

First, let me explain why LinkedIn recommends that you stay open to receive invitations from anyone, but only accept those from people you know.

The original intention of LinkedIn is to keep track of who you know, and who they know, and who they know.  The idea we are all separated by no more than six degrees of separation began in 1929 by a Hungarian author who wrote a short story about network theory. That later compelled social psychologist Stanley Milgram to conduct experiments in the 1960’s. And Columbia University experiments in 2003 confirmed the theory.  So, anyone you might want to meet in this whole wide world is no more than 6 introductions away.

Furthermore, researchers from Tufts and Stony Brook University concluded that while stronger connections are more likely to offer help, your weaker connections are more likely to actually help you land a job.

So, it’s not just who you know. It’s who they know, and who they know.

Notice the “know” part of that. What does it take to really “know” someone? Ask 10 different people, and you will probably get 10 different answers.

It’s up to you to determine what you would need to know or how long you would need to know a person before you really KNOW them. I recommend thinking of it this way: figure out what you need to know about a new connection in order to feel confident introducing them to VIPs in your own network.  This means asking new connections very meaningful questions.

Yes, that is my recommendation – get strangers on the phone and get to know each other before you connect.

When it comes to recruiters, some are transactional and some are relational.  A transactional recruiter wants you in their talent community either for a job requirement they are currently trying to fill or because they expect they will someday have a job requirement for which you might be a candidate. A relational recruiter may ask you to connect for the same reasons, but they get that you are a person, not just a candidate, and that building rapport and potentially a relationship will serve the highest good of everyone: themselves, you, your network, their clients, and their network. They see networking as an investment that enriches their professional experience and produces opportunities that can positively impact multiple lives.

Do either or both sound like people you might want to have in your network? A transactional recruiter may not produce as much value for you as a relational recruiter, but you still may land a job through one. 

How a recruiter is compensated and how their performance is measured may influence whether a recruiter works as transactional or relational. If job metrics dictate that they have to make 100 calls per day and interview 10 candidates in person per week, a metric I had previously as a recruiter, taking time to get to know candidates, especially those I can’t place NOW, seems like an unwise investment of time, even if that’s what I really want to do. Recruiters may flip from being transactional to being relational, and vice versa, when changing from one firm to another. Some relational recruiters will only work where the model supports investing time in building long-term relationships because they find transactional networking to be empty and unfulfilling.

So, once you decide what your standards are for people from whom you accept their invitation, the next step is to speak offline. LinkedIn removed the feature that allowed you to reply to all invitations, now you can only reply to those who have sent you a customized note (and if you read this at any point in the future, that may or may not be the case.)

Once you have decided you want to know a person inviting you to connect,  click on their name to visit their profile and message them, by clicking the “Message” icon just right of the “Accept” button. Send a message something along these lines:

“Hi. Thank you for the invitation to connect. Are you open to getting better acquainted offline? I’d like to understand what your mission is and what kind of invitations would be most impactful to you right now in fulfilling it.”

I include my number to put the ball in their court, but you may not be comfortable with that. Instead you can offer them 3 days/times you have 20-30 minutes free, ask them for their number and to confirm a time.

Not everyone who calls me is going to become a connection. If someone starts to sell me on something right away, I think twice.  I consider myself fairly intuitive, and I can feel a person out. My most important qualification for someone joining my network is if their values are aligned with mine. Meaning, will they be ethical, considerate and respectful?

Of course, when I receive an invitation that I’m going to consider, I check out their recent activity and see what they have been commenting on, liking, and sharing. I read their recommendations and see if they have given any. If they are generally adding value, I’ll be inclined to accept the invitation after speaking.

Notice, I still want to speak with them, mostly because I want to know they are willing to speak to and invest the time with me.  If they’re not, there’s a high probability this person will not prove valuable to my network.

When I speak with them I rely on my intuition and make the conversation organic, but to give you ideas of my thought process:  

  • I might ask them about something specific in their profile.
  • I’ll get their thoughts on a prevalent challenge in their industry or a current event.
  • I’ll ask them what they want most to happen in the next 12 months.
  • I’ll share something personal about myself and see if they reciprocate.

The questions you ask are best if they help you determine if the person meets the criteria you have established for making connections. I don’t necessarily need someone to think like me, agree with me, or share my worldview, though that’s great when that happens. Again, for me it’s really about feeling out how they would treat someone I care about if I were to make an introduction.

I set the intention for these calls that, if it seems like someone I’m going to add to my network, we determine right off the bat something we can do for each other – either an introduction, sharing an article or resource, or giving advice. Ask recruiters what is hot on their plate right now; what candidates do they need to present right now. Then, take at least one proactive measure to try to source that candidate in your network, if you don’t have a referral off the top of your head.

Creating this value right off the bat turns an acquaintance into a partner in success. When you have many partners in success, you don’t have to work as hard to achieve goals, so while the investment of time may seem heavy on the front end, it’s really a time and productivity hack.

Happy connecting! 

Connection

Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group North America Connection · The Rolling Stones Between The Buttons ℗ ℗ 2002 ABKCO Music & Records Inc. Released on: 2002-01-01 Producer: Andrew Loog Oldham Recording Arranger: The Rolling Stones Author, Composer: Mick Jagger Author, Composer: Keith Richards Music Publisher: Onward Music Ltd.

4 Things You Can Do on LinkedIn to Attract Recruiters

Photo by petrOlly via Flickr. Some rights reserved. https://bit.ly/1Q5hzp0

Photo by petrOlly via Flickr. Some rights reserved.

(Upcoming posts: How To Handle Recruiters Wanting To Connect, How To Deal With Trolls Now That You’ve Gone Viral)

In case you weren’t aware already, recruiters use LinkedIn to find, qualify, and engage with talent for open positions. I can’t confirm an actual statistic, but one study reported in 2016 that 84% of recruiters use LinkedIn to recruit while another study from March 2018 reported that 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates. I believe them both.

From the 2017 Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report, below are the top three positive factors that impact a recruiter’s decision to move forward with a candidate.

  1. Examples of written or design work (65%)
  2. Engagement in volunteering, mentoring, or non-profits (63%)
  3. Mutual connections (35%)

So, if you want to be visible and desirable to recruiters as part (not all) of your job search plan, below are four things you can do to increase your chances.

Please be advised that companies report their highest quality candidates come from external recruiters only 7% of the time, and 26% report that their lowest quality candidates come from external recruiters. So, allocate your time investment in recruiters to be about 10% of your efforts. Contact us to learn what to do with the other 90% of your time.

The good news is the efforts below will not only make you attractive to external recruiters, but also internal recruiters and, even better yet, hiring managers.

  1. Follow and engage with recruiters and industry leaders who are active on LinkedIn.

By active, I mean they post regular status updates, like and comment on others’ posts, and have 500+ connections.

When you follow them, their updates will show up on your homepage feed. But, when you follow a lot of people and companies, algorithms will govern your homepage feed so that you only see status updates with strong engagement predominantly. In other words, their posts will only show up in your news feed if others have been engaging with those posts (popular posts).

You will also want to make sure you follow companies on your target company list and internal recruiters, HR leaders, and thought leaders (who are active.) Some that I follow:

  • Lauren McDonald
  • Adam Karpiak
  • Shaun Hervey
  • Ken Lubin
  • Tabith Trent Cavanaugh
  • Brigette Hyacinth
  • Kevin Wheeler
  • Lou Adler

Once you follow, you must engage! You can help them gain more visibility by liking their posts, which then adds their post to your networks’ home feed and lists that activity to your profile under recent activity. However, if you want to gain visibility with them or within their network, comment thoughtfully. Asking additional insightful questions will generate the most visibility.

Spend 15-20 minutes doing this daily and you will see the amount of your profile views go up. The amount of invitations or followers you receive will be more reflective of the quality of your posts, versus the quantity. I recommend you focus on what you say rather than how frequently you say it.

We’ll discuss in a later post what to do when recruiters you don’t know invite you to connect.

  1. Add people to your network weekly.

Start by expanding who you think SHOULD be in your network. The obvious people are former or current co-workers, supervisors, vendors, and customers. Some people focus solely on people in their industry or professional realm, but this is a mistake. People don’t operate in industry vacuums. Think of anyone you are on a first name basis with who, if they asked you, you would not hesitate to make an introduction on their behalf. This could be neighbors, fellow soccer parents, doctors and dentists, event planners, attorneys, accountants, etc.  Every time you leave your house, think about “the people that you meet each day.”

If you fewer than 200 connections, aim to add 20 each week by inviting 50. If you have at least 200 quality connections (meaning you know them at least as an acquaintance, if not better), and you feel that you have added all of the above-mentioned people, start seeking out those who are commenting on posts of interest to you. It’s the easiest way to connect and customize your invitation message: “I saw your comment/post on >>>> and thought it was really insightful. I’d like to know more about what kind of introductions would be the most impactful to you right now. Do you have 20 minutes or so to get better acquainted offline? My number is…..”

Then, of course, wait for them to accept or perhaps respond, and follow up to schedule an introductory phone call, a lunch or happy hour, or invite them to an event you will be attending and ask them to meet a bit earlier.

  1. Start posting quality content.

What is a quality post? One that exhibits your expertise, but also initiates a discussion that others want to engage.

You have two options for posting content on LinkedIn, and I recommend using them both to some capacity.

The first option is your status update:

You enter this right from the top of your homepage. You have 600 characters here, unless you want to cross-post to Twitter, in which case you have 140 characters. A highly engaging status update now has the potential to go viral even more so than publishing posts, as long as people engage. Engagement will extend the “shelf life” of your post, so your goal is to get people to like and share it.

Think about some of the pains your industry experiences, trends impacting it, and challenges of implementing solutions.  Find ways to resonate and empathize with your future employer. Don’t give away all your proprietary expertise, but definitely share the great outcomes to which you have contributed. Tell stories. Express your personality, which will promote you not only as a qualified candidate, but one who would potentially fit in with a company’s culture. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone. Not everyone will give you an offer. You only need one great offer (though we can help you generate momentum that produces multiple offers.)
Read each post out loud twice and have someone else proofread it twice before you put it out there.

We’ll discuss in a later post what to do about trolls. Don’t let them stop you from getting great content out into the world.

The second option is publishing posts:

These are essentially like blogs or articles. They are usually longer (500-800 words) and include keywords. While the “shelf life” of these are longer (they will be associated with your profile either indefinitely, or until LinkedIn decides to change that), they become hard to find unless engagement continues.

They can sometimes be picked up and promoted by LinkedIn. I recommend also sharing through your status update, to individuals who may want to chime in on the comments, and in groups (read and follow all group rules; some don’t want you to self-promote or direct people outside of a discussion thread.)

Think carefully about your titles and try to think about what someone might be experiencing, wanting, or wanting to avoid.

  1. Volunteer and add your experience to your profile.

The better volunteering opportunities are the ones that enable you to interact with people and work on a team. Perhaps you can even be the one that organizes a community event. You might want to start with professional organizations in your industry. See if they have events coming up at which you can volunteer.

I encourage you to choose an organization that has meaning for you. It may or may not lead to you meeting someone who can open a door of opportunity for you, but it is really one of the best ways to remember how valuable you can be for others. And at the same time, helping others less fortunate than you will remind you of your own blessings.

As expressed above, a tertiary benefit is how favorable recruiters look upon this type of activity.

You may also opt to add a post related to that non-profit or volunteer activity and tag others involved to bring them added visibility, as well. Besides professional organizations and non-profits in your community, another place you can go to find volunteering opportunities is volunteermatch.org.

Watch for upcoming posts related to this topic:  How To Handle Recruiters Wanting To Connect, and How To Deal With Trolls Now That You’ve Gone Viral.

See Me, Feel Me / Listening To You

Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group North America See Me, Feel Me / Listening To You · Roger Daltrey Tommy ℗ 2000 Polydor Inc. Released on: 2000-01-01 Producer: Pete Townshend Producer: Ken Russell Author, Composer: Pete Townshend Music Publisher: ABKCO Music Inc. Music Publisher: Fabulous Music Music Publisher: Fabulous Music Ltd.

Don’t Stress Out about Stress…Yet

Photo courtesy of Sarah (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dm-set/). Some rights reserved.I have been trying all morning to find a Quartz article that other articles (Apost.com) have been referencing regarding bad bosses, why people don’t leave them, and how a bad boss can be as bad for your health as second-hand smoking. I couldn’t find this source article, so I won’t cite the statistics as truth – YES! I fact check!

So, I did a little bit more legwork to see if I could find the original research sources (The American Psychological Association, Harvard, and Stanford.) What I found was that a “recent” study being cited, isn’t very recent at all – 2015.

Further, people who cited the original Apost.com article said that the Quartz article quoted the American Psychological Association stated 75% of American workers said that their boss was a “major cause of stress.” I have not been able to validate this either.  It also says 59% of these people would not leave their job in spite of their bad bosses – I also found no validation of this statistic, and I was relieved for that!

Here is what I have been able to validate

An aggregation of 228 different studies found:

  • Those who face major stress at work are 35% more likely to be diagnosed with an illness.
  • People who work long hours are 20% more likely to die sooner.
  • The fear of losing your job increases your chance of having poor health by 50%.

I’ve had many clients over the years who had to leave their jobs because they believed it was making them sick – literally. They weren’t imagining it. Science has proven that stress can negatively impact our health. There are too many citations to reference on this. If you would like proof, go to pubmed.org and enter “stress and disease” in the search bar.  If you are in denial of this, it may even benefit your health, too.

Not all stress is bad. Eustress is the good kind, and further studies indicate that our perception of stress is the real determinant as to whether it will impact us negatively in the form of sickness and disease, or whether it will improve our performance, resilience, and sense of achievement.  Some people bring out their best in stressful situations.

You have to assess your beliefs about stress and know your own stress limits before worrying that your string of sicknesses is related to your job.  A report I found cited the theories and methodologies of some major I/O Psychology thought leaders (Kahn, et. al.,) which purported that a person’s fit to their environment determined whether the job would produce eustress or distress.

Now, how well do you fit your environment?

A bigger question is, if you recognize that your environment does not allow you to thrive and operate at your highest levels, are you going to do anything about it?

The Apost.com article was thought provoking, even if it wasn’t properly referenced. The author, who surmised that survival is why people stay, stated, “Given the present market conditions, it is not an easy decision to quit one’s job and start over entirely.”

I have two things to say:

#1 – Regardless of market conditions, changing jobs is not an easy decision.  For many, this decision impacts not just the individual, but also family members and logistics that may be working. This is the #1 reason I have found why people stay at jobs that cause them (dis)stress. They operate under the notion that the chances of finding something better that also works with their lifestyle is a fantasy.

I’m here to tell you – it’s NOT!  It still won’t be an easy decision, but once you make it, engaging a partner like me will help ensure that you land swiftly and safely in a position that aligns with your lifestyle, values, and professional ambitions.

#2 – There’s nothing at all wrong with today’s market conditions (as of this post, April 2018.) With unemployment at a 10-year-low and wage growth relatively steady since 2010, there’s no need to be scared of this market – as of now. That could change, of course. But I assure you, having coached through the great recession, people were still landing jobs, and companies still needed to hire people. It just became much more competitive, and all the more reason to engage a coach to help you distinguish yourself and leverage your time and visibility effectively.

If you suspect your job is out of alignment in some way and is causing stress that could eventually (or already is) impacting your health, don’t wait any longer to get help. The job market is ripe, and just being in action and having a partner and a plan can greatly reduce your stress.

You don’t have to jump ship; just take the first step and book your free consultation!

How to Stay on the Same Side when Negotiating Salary

Everyone’s only out for themselves.  It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Maybe that’s what you have been taught. And if you bought it, you will see evidence reinforcing it everywhere. You believe it, and so it is your reality.

If so, the techniques I share in this blog are not for you. If you struggle to give people the benefit of the doubt, you will use negotiation tactics that are defensive. And, if you feel like you are struggling for power and losing, your approach may even border on adversarial.

If you struggle to trust a company even though it seems to be on the up and up, you will assume they are hiding something, and it will reveal itself in due time. In the meantime, you cover all your bases and feel compelled to constantly cover your … butt. In your professional work, if you feel the need to be competitive with others for attention, credit, prominence, and pay, you will assume others go to great lengths to win and that justifies you doing the same.

You are the last person my clients want work with, work for, or hire.

Why? You will most likely insist on being the last one to reveal your ask, even when pressed. You will try to circumvent the people in the company who are expected to ensure policy is followed for fairness and consistency. You may not even realize your bias against human resources.

You won’t believe what I am about to advise, so you might as well stop reading here.

If you consider yourself to be a moral, ethical person who believes that people are generally good and fair, you have found yourself disgusted by some things you have experienced in cut-throat corporate America. Even if you know there are good people out there, you may not have a lot of faith they can stay good in a system that promotes gaining profit (corporate and personal) over all else.

That being said, you want and deserve to be paid fairly. And there are so many great things you want to do with excess income that would enhance your life, help your family, and perhaps serve many others.

I have a deep compulsion to help you earn as much as possible within your market value range.  The truth is everyone wants a fair deal. I want that for you. You want that for you. And I want that for your employer, too. Why? Because when a company gets ROI on its talent, and it is a conscious corporation, it will reinvest profits in its people. And that is what we are all about.

A lot of companies say their people are their number one asset, but how many of them demonstrate it consistently? Finding out if a company really means it is getting easier (and we are working in making it even easier). And these companies will do the right thing by their people – and that’s when everyone wins.

If you want to stay on the same side with your employer during compensation negotiations, the first thing to do is due diligence: qualify that employer as a conscious company. Glassdoor, Top Places To Work lists, and the tenure and growth of its people historically (information you may be able to assess on LinkedIn) are resources you can use to do this. Then, of course, reach out directly to people on the inside to see if what you gather is substantiated.

The second thing you must do is understand what the market pays for your skills, experiences and talents. You can do this through online research on bls.gov, the salary estimates on Indeed (in the left column), reports on salary.com, and Glassdoor data. I recommend that you always ask a local recruiter who niches in your field to validate what you find. Make sure your data is based on local positions, or you adjust them based on your local cost of living.

Next, determine how you uniquely add value to this. In the nearly 12 years I have been a career coach, I have always been able to identify unique qualifiers for my clients, which is the essence of branding. Often there are monetary values attributed to those unique qualifiers, which can be qualities or hard skills. These can either push you into the upper ranges of market value, or move you above market value. Either way, you must be prepared to justify these clearly in a business case for your employer.

Whether you want to make a fair ask that enables the company to get ROI on you, or you are a top performer and the company knows how to leverage and develop you, they will aim to make 1.75x your salary. You may have a role traditionally considered to be in a “cost center” for a company, such as customer or technical support, but make no mistake – each and every role in a company was designed to contribute to the balance sheet in some way. If you’re not directly generating revenue directly, you are making it more possible, or you are helping to reduce costs or avoid shut-down/fines.  When you understand how your role contributes in this way, you can ensure that your ask is fair and that your reasons for believing this can be clearly articulated.

If your research indicates that the market value for your current position won’t meet your quality of life standards, it’s time to re-evaluate your career. And if you are unsure if the market value will support your needed standard quality of life and also provide a retirement you desire with the future quality of life you want, it’s time to get with a financial advisor. I am happy to make a referral. Just private message me.

Notice I haven’t said anything about your prior compensation. In spite of some companies’ and recruiting firms’ practices of determining your future value by your current value, your past or current compensation is not an accurate determination of your future value at all. It may be a reflection, however, of your self-worth. The branding journey we take our clients on helps them feel in alignment with their true market value and overcome the mental mindset that can develop from being underpaid and undervalued.

Lastly, what do you ask for and how do you come to an agreement with your employer while still keeping things friendly? After all, this is the first big decision you will make together. How you come to an agreement sets the tone for the commencement of the partnership, and it will influence your impression of each other from that point forward. Don’t you want to feel like you’re on the same team?  You each have an agenda, but the negotiation is really about finding the overlap and understanding the other party.

I am not one to advise people to refuse to answer questions about desired or expected salary.  Some of my peers, and even mentors, would.  If you feel like you might be taken advantage of by divulging your ask too soon, then you don’t trust this company. Maybe you wouldn’t trust any company? Or perhaps you didn’t qualify them as a company worthy of your trust? If you are the former, you probably should have stopped reading very early on. If you are the latter, do NOT enter into negotiations until you learn that the company is trustworthy, conscious, and invests in its people.

Instead of “holding your cards close to your chest,” I recommend boldly coming out with a reasonable range, data to back it up, and a business case to explain if you are asking for more than what the position usually pays. Keep in mind, ethical or not, when a person hears a range, they focus on what they are inclined to focus on in order to achieve their agenda. An unconscious company will want to get talent for as little money as possible. And a conscious company will not want to overpay for talent, because it hurts the company and inhibits their ability to re-invest in their talent.

Both examples will hear the low end of your range. So right after giving the range, discuss what conditions would have to be met in order for you to accept the low end, then swiftly explain how the company will benefit from investing in you on the high end.  Your low end must still support your current standard of living. Don’t give a low end that will leave you feeling slighted if offered, even though a conscious corporation would offer you good reasons for doing so.

Collegial negotiations are not just dependent what you say, though. It’s really more about how you are being – are you expecting the company will find your ask reasonable and do what they can to bring about the best possible outcome for both parties? If not, you probably should have stopped reading much earlier. This method will not work if you are suspicious. Authenticity is key here.

Lastly, leave the door open for them to ask questions and counter-offer. If a counter-offer seems way off your ask, ask them to help you understand, while giving them the benefit of the doubt that they have their reasons.

True story: I was trained in negotiating with candidates and employers as a recruiter. In my annual review shortly after that I was expecting a raise since I had been promoted in title. As trained, I did my research. In this annual review situation, it’s not customary to make an ask, as you’ve probably experienced. I anticipated my raise to be 50% above what I was making and instead it was a 10% raise. I had been underpaid my whole career prior to that, and armed with this new training, I was ready to earn fair compensation.  My boss, the VP of Sales – a master negotiator, had trained us to engage clients and candidates in further discussion when agendas didn’t align with the request, “Help me understand.” It became an inside joke, but in all fairness, it works, and it worked on him, too. I don’t have a poker face and I’m sure my disappointment in the offer was all over my face, so I took a deep breath and earnestly said, “Help me understand. I did research and based on the data, my compensation should be X.” I pointed to recent successes and things I had done outside of the scope of my role. He wanted to take a closer look at the data himself, and discuss it with the finance department and CEO.  They came back with a raise that was in my range, and a bit above the median. I, thankfully, had a conscious boss and CEO who wanted to pay talent fairly. 

The training I had was not the same as what I see other negotiation coaches promoting. It was designed to help three parties get on the same page, the employer, the candidate and the recruiting firm.  Our agenda was to keep strong relations with the employer to supply future talent needs, and to help our candidates earn as much as possible so that they stick and so that our share increased.  I used this training to increase my own salary by 50% and finally earn market value, and now I’m sharing it with you so that you can earn your fair share too.

 

If you would like to have guidance and support in qualifying conscious employers, understanding your unique market value, formulating and making your ask at the right time, reverse-engineering your career to align with your desired quality of life, and/or crafting counter-offers, e-mail Karen@epiccareering.com with the subject line: Make My Career Epic.

 

The Searchers – Take Me For What I’m Worth 1965

The Searchers – Take Me For What I’m Worth 1965