Archives for Brene Brown

Making 2018 Better Than 2017

Part 2 of 4

Thinking by Creative Ignition on Flickr

If you celebrate Christmas, this next week will be hectic. As you lay your head to rest, instead of visions of sugarplums (whatever they are,) you might see all the things not yet done – presents not bought or wrapped, recipes not yet altered to accommodate Cousin Joe’s lactose intolerance. You might spend your time going through a mental checklist of people wondering or feeling like there was someone important you missed.

If we took a page from nature, however, as the first day of winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, we would see more stillness – an incubation (at least we do here in the Northeast). Even nature knows there is a time to rest and reflect, a time to renew and plan for what kind of rebirth is wanted or needed.

This can also be the most active time of the year to be together, and being together is what we try to remind ourselves this time of year is all about.

We’ll take a look at three more areas of your life to reflect upon and recreate for 2018, starting with the one that takes a lot of focus this time of year, even as we naturally crave seclusion.

  1. Social Life

Once I started digging into the personal and professional development world, there was an advice that really bugged me, and it continues to, even though at times I think it is sound. The advice has been regurgitated in various forms. Jim Rohn, who I quote a lot and love many of his teachings, says that you are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time. Other teachers flat out preach that you need to leave negative people behind you and fill your inner circle with more positive, wealthy people if you want to get or stay positive and wealthy.

When I was in college I had heard that your network is your net worth, and that was so discouraging. There was some family who were (are) wealthy and prominent, but they had proven to be not very helpful, and that was the only existing route I could see to elevate myself.

I was grateful to find, as a recruiter when I started to network more, that new connections can be made, and fairly easily.

That being said, I wasn’t about to leave behind my friends. Yes, I wanted to spend more time around people who followed a path to success that I aspired to follow, but I couldn’t just cut off from my life the people who care about me, though they may not be successful, wealthy, or even positive.

The whole personal development world is now plagued by people who are aspiring to be ascended in higher thought and living, but who create a contrast between themselves and others less ascended. I see this only leading to disdain.

There are some obvious reflections you might have: did you see your loved ones enough? Did you entertain as much as you could have? Are you losing connections to friends you intend to keep?

But also consider that if you can spend more time with successful people and add to your knowledge and inspiration, the time you spend with less successful people will enable you to add something positive. Just stay mindful so that you don’t fall into a superiority trap.

As you start to see a better way to be and live, it’s natural to notice more how the people who are not living better are choosing that, and to be frustrated by it. If you really want to change it, though, you will not be effective from a place of judgment. Once you achieve a better way of living for yourself, the next thing to work on is how you can accept others where they are. And, sometimes you will also see opportunities to set healthy limits for how much you let others keep you down.

  1. Intellectual Life

As my senior business students shared their goals, it was clear to me that they were putting the accountability on their development in the hands of their future employer. Does it belong there? Is every employer going to care where you want to see yourself in 5 years as it does NOT relate to their company?  I am tying intellectual life to develop because there is a strong correlation between new knowledge and development. Can we effectively grow without gaining new knowledge?

Anecdotally in my own life, I started to see my development accelerate exponentially in my 20s when I did three things – hired a coach, started to network (as stated before), and started reading non-fiction habitually. Then in my 30s it seemed clear that I didn’t just want to read, but I wanted to discuss with others what I had been reading. I had forgotten in my 20s how much I missed discussing ideas, as was encouraged and came naturally in college. I started attending more lectures and meetups, and even started my own mastermind and meetup.

I have to admit that when I’m really busy, reading and discussing are what I cut out, but because I made them such habits and enjoyed such a boost of growth from them, I go back to them as soon as the dust settles.

It’s the best time of year to develop your reading wish list, since you may even receive one as a gift. Ask others what to read based on your goals or resolutions for 2018. People only recommend books they have read, so make a note of who recommended what and invite that person to discuss the book once your done. This helps you create a goal for finishing the book and also nurtures your social goals.

  1. Family

It seems this should be higher up the list, right?  The thing is, if money isn’t the area of your life that vexes you the most, it could be this. If this is true for you, it may seem more logical to survive the holidays and then reflect, which can look more like venting.  We can do better than that, though, and starting to achieve peace in this area by doing what is in your power to do (because we can only control our actions, not those of others) will enable you to start the year more as the person you want to be. We can’t pretend a new year will change you, but if you can demonstrate to yourself what you are capable of in this area during the time of year where the expectations are highest, you will feel more empowered to create an even better vision of your family life in 2018.

(I know very few people who can’t relate to this. If you are one of them, count yourself so blessed!)

Some of what I have learned about myself in relation to my family through my personal development has to do with me NOT wanting to feel bad and the lengths I go to not feel bad, which can include making my family wrong to make me feel right. Once I realize I am doing this, I feel worse, but only then can I start to course correct and forgive myself and them – which is very powerful.

There is one mantra that I hear a lot at personal development events that helps me maintain my sense of humility and acceptance of myself and others – “We are all doing the best we can with what, where and who we are at each stage of our lives.”

If you are feeling extra stressed this holiday season and the source is your family, watch some Brené Brown interviews on YouTube. Practice ho’oponopono, which is a Hawaiian practice that induces healing and forgiveness.

Notice that my advice in this area is actually more around action than reflection; this is because I feel I personally spend too long reflecting in this area, and not spending enough time actually making efforts that can improve it, which take practice because this is the area where triggers are voluminous. This also means that this is the area where there is the most opportunity for growth, but where growth is the hardest.

Which of the 6 areas covered so far feel the hardest to you? Which do you want to dive into first, and which one do you want to avoid?

We’ll cover 3 more areas next week.

 

Cheers to a year that is better than any before!

Sting – Brand New Day

Music video by Sting performing Brand New Day. (C) 1999 A&M Records

PennWomen2017

I am pausing my blog series on the MindValley Reunion to bring to you excerpts from the PA Conference for Women last week, which featured life-altering content from extraordinary speakers, including Brené Brown and Michelle Obama.

If you couldn’t be there among 12,000 others, or even if you were there but it went so fast that you could hardly absorb the wisdom bombs that were dropped one right after the other, here is a record. I captured pictures of my Twitter feed where I shared many of these wisdom bombs, and welcome you to follow me for this and all future wisdom bombs I am to share, but if you are not on Twitter, I still want you to enjoy the great takeaways.

I will return to the MindValley Reunion recap next week to begin to share Day 2, which began with a very moving talk from Don Miguel Ruiz and Don José Ruiz.

Sister Sledge – We Are Family

Four sisters: Kim Sledge (born 21 August 1957), Debbie Sledge (born 9 July 1954), Joni Sledge (born 13 September 1956), and Kathy Sledge (born 6 January 1959). Best known for their work with Chic in the late ’70s, Sister Sledge reached the height of their popularity during the disco era but had been recording since the early ’70s and were still active in the late ’90s.

Flip The Script On Your Sad Story

Captured from a coincidental Facebook post today on https://www.facebook.com/brenebrown

Captured from a coincidental Facebook post at https://www.facebook.com/brenebrown

Are you someone that doesn’t feel very confident telling your own career story? Have you practiced it and rewrote it in the car, in the shower, before you go to bed, assessing each detail to get your story just right? Does it consume too much of your time and energy and diminish your ability to be present in your life?

When you really think about it, does it feel like you’re defending yourself? When you tell that story, is there any subject in the story who would be inclined to defend themselves if they heard you tell that story? Does your voice go up? Do you get a little more animated?

On the other hand…

Have you ever been uncomfortable hearing somebody go into “dirty” details about a previous job? Did you ever find yourself doubting if the person even believed their own story or if they’re making it up to make himself sound better?

As observers of these stories, we are subconsciously human lie detectors, automatically assessing the authenticity of someone’s story. It can take an effort to listen solely with compassion and empathy. However, when we are the storytellers, we are essentially blind to how our stories are perceived. Since it is our brain’s natural inclination to defend its own “natural” responses, most people don’t see a better way to tell the story, but there is a better way!

 

What we want can sabotage us

As a student of Landmark Education, I learned that our primal motivation in communication is to make ourselves look good and, in doing so sometimes, make others look bad. The only way to stop this cycle so that you can be your authentic self and instill true trust and confidence is to acknowledge our nature, be accountable, and overcome you story. Another added bonus of being authentic and instilling confidence is job momentum in the form of increased employment leads and interviews that convert into job offers. Most recruiters are very skeptical; a candidate who is genuine has a large competitive advantage to one who appears to be hiding something, and most recruiters assume everyone is hiding something. The question that most concerns them is, is what you are hiding relevant to your job performance and your ability to be successful?

You might’ve heard that there are two sides to every story, but what happens when your story doesn’t match up with someone else’s? It becomes a he-said/she-said no-win situation. If you are telling a story about a previous work situation that presents any kind of risk, it will be something the recruiter is going to verify. If there are any discrepancies, you are out of the running.

Stories that we tell ourselves really do shape our reality. We owe it to ourselves to be clear about our role in the outcomes we create. We owe it to ourselves to create stories in our lives in which we are the heroes, and in which we embody the qualities that we admire most.

Vishen Lakhani, Founder of MindValley, identified six basic human needs in in his Mind Hack talk at Wisdom 2.0, which are very different from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The last of these needs, but certainly not the least, is a sense of control. Does that resonate with you? Is what you want most to feel a sense of control about what happens in your life? Is what you want most to feel like things will not happen to you that you don’t want to happen?

What are you seeing in your life right now? If you don’t feel like you have a sense of control, do you feel like you react instead of respond to adversities? Do you feel like people around you never give you what you ask for or what you need? Do you feel like things never go as planned?

 

Confronting yourself

The only way to get from where you are right now to where you want to be, if what you want is a sense of control and freedom to be authentic is to look deeply at yourself and how you contributed to the status of your life right now. This is not an exercise in shame. We unconsciously make ourselves feel worse all the time. When we defend ourselves in situations, and when we feel the need to de-stress or escape our lives by doing more things that are detrimental to our mental physical and emotional well-being, we are trying to escape guilt, shame, and, in essence, the reality that you created. These things, however, only enhance our sense of dread and diminish our control of our lives. The point here is to feel free and alive.

Confronting yourself about how you impact your own life can be painful, but as Carl Jung stated, what we resist persists. Once you recognize your own accountability, eliminate the pain faster by letting yourself feel it fully for a short, set amount of time, like a half hour or a half day, depending on how deeply seeded the pain is. Notice even WHERE your pain is physically, and allow yourself to truly feel it.

Once you feel as though you have felt as much pain as was there, consciously release it. You can do this just by stating it is so, for example, “I release my pain. Or, you can imagine putting this pain and putting your mistakes in to helium balloon and then releasing it into the air. You could write them down and burn them in a fire. Let them go, and let go of the stories that other people and circumstances beyond your control are the reasons that your life is the way it is. Having a sense of control of your life is a choice that you can simply make. It’s not just mental; it is emotional. When you empower yourself to change your life, feel that power inside you. Feel as though you are supported. Your imagination can be very powerful here. Even if you do not believe in a higher power, you can just imagine what it is like to be lucky and to have a charmed life where everything goes your way, and you will manifest better fortune.

Yes, we are sometimes damaged by the actions and words of others. There’s no denying the impact that other people can have to the way that we perceive ourselves and the world around us, however we always have choice. As Eleanor Roosevelt stated, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” At some point, you may have given someone permission to hurt you emotionally, and now is the time to take it back.

 

Getting clear about what’s true and what’s story

 Once you release the self-inflicted pain of your previous choices, you put your brain’s defenses at ease and you can more clearly evaluate how you contributed to an unsuccessful situation. Create a timeline of the situation starting as early as possible. If it’s a job situation, think about your first interactions with the company and your boss. Was it possible you had clues or intuitions about a possible bad outcome that you ignored? Did you misrepresent a qualification in your desperation to get hired? These things happen all the time. The only way to prevent getting stuck in a similar story and be empowered to alter your future is to really see how your choices could have been different. We can never be sure what our present would look like had we made different choices, and we are sure to make mistakes, but we owe it to ourselves to NOT make the same mistakes that we know led us to an undesirable place in our lives, careers and relationships.

 

The flipped script

No employer will anticipate you being a perfect human being. In fact, they will anticipate that you have made some mistakes. Some people think that the question, “Tell us about your weaknesses,” is a trap designed to trick you into spilling your guts about how bad you are so they can eliminate you as a candidate. What an employer really actually wants you to deliver in your answer to that question is strong sense of character that you have built by making mistakes, acknowledging them, taking accountability for them, and either fixing them or learning a lesson that alters the way you approach the situation in the future. Your ability to acknowledge when you make a mistake actually presents you as less risky than somebody who blames others. When you tell a story about somebody else who is at fault, the listener projects you in the future telling similar stories about them. They don’t want to be the future subject of your blame stories.

Some career coaches will advise you on what to say and how to correct your posture to address these stories, and some people may be successful using these tactics. However, we have found that what you say and how you say it is not as impactful as WHO YOU ARE when you say it. Meaning, are you coming from a good intention and are you being your best self?

Once you remove the emotional charge of your previous stories, it’s time to write a new one. Please refer to our previous posts: Your Heroic Job Search, How to Use an Alter-Ego to Land a Job and Be The Rock Star for more insights on that.

 

DISCLAIMER:

In some cases, less is more. This might be a difficult thing to discern for yourself. If you have questions about how to address something either in a networking situation or interviewing situation, please reach out to us. There are times when we will advise you that all you want to report are exactly the facts of what happened and leave it there. For example, when there is a downsizing, no additional details are really necessary. You don’t need to go into the conditions under which a company needed to downsize, unless you are a person who directly impacted a company’s need to downsize.

Also, some people blame themselves after being laid off when it really was a blessing they just don’t recognize yet. Make sure you don’t spend eternity confronting yourself. The key is to release the pain and move forward in a better direction.

 

We’re all human (I’m assuming,) and we all have the same tendency to protect our fragile psyches. The thing is, we don’t always see how our protection ultimately inhibits our quality of life, and even sometimes our health. Coaches shine a mirror and a light on your blind spots. Few others will. If you are lacking a sense of control and feel unsupported, the only way to change that is to recognize how powerful you are in creating your reality, CHOOSE to embrace your power, and learn how you can make better choices that align with who you really are. Until we shed the weight of the protection we carry, we don’t realize how much it has weighed us down, how light and free we can feel, and how high we can really go.

 

Save Time, Effort and Money by Starting Strong on Your Career Transition

"Time Flies" Photo courtesy of h.koppdelaney of Flickr creative commons. http://bit.ly/16TSfDb Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

“Time Flies” Photo courtesy of h.koppdelaney of Flickr creative commons. http://bit.ly/16TSfDb Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

 

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” John Wooden was one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time, and was well known for his motivational quotes. In this particular quote, Wooden relayed to his players that time is precious and of the essence, we may not always have a second change to optimize our efforts. The world of job-hunting is filled with missed opportunity, but taking the time to start the search  in a smarter-not-harder way can go a long way in finding success. Recognizing the ways in which opportunity can be missed means you won’t waste your time on job search efforts that yield poor results. The cost of searching for a job can be expensive. Depending on your needs and the services you opt for (resume writing, traveling to events, a career coach, etc.) could cost you at least $2,000. If you are currently employed and make $100K per year, your gross income per day could be around $260. A prolonged job hunt could easily burn through much of your daily income, especially if you spend more than 5% of your time searching and applying for jobs online. Think of the hours you waste per day by filling out impersonal job applications, when you could spend the time creating meaningful connections with people through networking and researching target companies. Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker said it best: “Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely”.

The conclusion I’ve come to is many job seekers skip out on the activities that get them the best results because they perceive that they require more time and their efforts have a questionable pay off. Networking and personalizing your search also requires facing people, and for some reason we find the thought of facing people to be scary at times. The best jobs and the best opportunities to find those jobs can’t be obtained by the simple press of an “easy” button. Developing relationships with people isn’t the difficult part of a job search. It takes a couple of weeks to generate momentum before you can powerfully articulate your value and the contribution you want to employers with straightforward requests. The TIME is the part that requires some patience, perseverance, and self-assessment to arrive at the clarity necessary to develop those messages. People are the EASY part, as long as we can hurdle our fears; many people have been in the similar position of seeking a foot in the door and are willing to give advice. The work may be time-consuming at first, but the payoff means more job leads, references, interviews, and even landing the job. Furthermore, once these connections are established, it will become much easier to utilize your network to help find your next opportunity.

 

Growing the Network:

Establishing or growing your personal and professional network is the first step in generation the momentum you need to articulate your value to employers. It is a necessary step because very few job seekers land a position without networking. In fact, about 80% of jobs are landed through networking. This is true for most positions where personality is just as important as skills and qualifications. This means connecting with former friends and colleagues you might not have talked to since your previous job, or even since college. Don’t count these people out just because you didn’t keep in touch. That IS the purpose of social media. It is completely acceptable, if not expected, to reconnect with people with whom you lost touch through social media. Friends and family may be able to provide you with valuable leads, or they may connect you to someone who can provide you with these leads. A quote from Sesame Street defines personal connections perfectly: “The people in your neighborhood, the people that you meet each day.” These connections can be anyone with whom you are on a first name basis—dentists, mail carriers, hair dressers, clerks at the bakery or deli are just a few examples. Your professional connections can consist of alumni, co-workers, hiring managers, recruiters, and even former bosses. Through these connections you can discover job openings, and obtain referrals.

If you have yet to tap into your personal and professional networks, or if you have, but have not been able to gain any traction with your network I cover these topics in two vlogs. The first vlog is “How Does Your Garden, uh, Network Grow?”. The second vlog is “Job Help for the Discouraged Job Seeker”. All of your connections are important because they could lead you to your next career opportunity. You can also optimize your network by prioritizing contacts, and by creating lists sorted by relevance. Have meaningful interactions with contacts in your field. The quality of the interaction is important. You won’t get far by reconnecting with someone just to ask them for job leads. Make it about a genuine interest in finding out more about them, how they’ve been doing, and what you can do to help THEM. For some, this will feel like less pressure than making it about asking for favors. Don’t ask for favors. Watch my vlog, “Get Interviews Through Your Network” for a better way of obtaining an interview. For others who have been experiencing an emotional tailspin, facing people means having to show how vulnerable you have become. Facing people when you feel embarrassed or less than is the LAST thing you want to do. I recommend you watch Brene Brown’s TED Talk on the power of vulnerability. Relationships are a give-and-take. If you help someone out in your network, it demonstrates how valuable you are, and they will naturally want to extend help to you.

 

Attending Networking Events:

Networking events are a great way to further expand your network. Professional conferences, job club meetings, community service groups and career fairs provide opportunities for job seekers to meet employers, hiring managers, and recruiters at local events here: U.S. News & World Report Money has compiled a list of common professional networking events. Obtain a list of employers prior to attending the event, so you can research the companies beforehand. Doing this will allow you to narrow down the employers in your field, or the companies you’d really like to work for in the future. You will be able to tailor your conversation and questions to the individual company, which will leave a lasting impression on recruiters. Even if they’re not hiring, they could remember you when positions do open.

Often I have heard from people who have landed exactly the job that they wanted, that it was all due to one event that turned into several meetings, which generated several more meetings. In this way, JoMo (job momentum) can build VERY quickly. The key is making sure that all of your conversations cover a small agenda:

  1. Find out what the other person needs.
  1. Offer to help (and do so within a week).
  1. Let them know what contribution you want to make for your next employer.
  1. What qualifies you to make the contribution.
  1. Who your ideal employer is, either as a profile or name specific companies, then explicitly ask if they know anyone who works in a company like this.
  1. Ask them to make an introduction within a week.
  1. Schedule a follow-up.

Networking events are about creating and maintaining connections. Take some time to talk about your background and find shared experiences. If you have any great work-related stories to tell, share them. It could be about the time you saved a major project or exceeded your company’s goals. Some of these stories may seem like another day at the office to you, but they can illustrate your best qualities as a person and employee. On the flipside, take time to learn about the recruiters you meet at networking events, and ask them what they like best about working for their company. Don’t linger with one recruiter for too long, as they are eager to meet other job seekers. This can be a balancing act. While you don’t want to monopolize someone’s time, it can be awkward to cut a conversation short when there is evident synergy. If you find this is true, offer to meet up with someone after the event. When the event is over, take the time to write a “Thank You” note to the recruiter to demonstrate you’re interested in their company. The stronger the impression you leave on recruiters, the more likely they are to remember you.

 

Make LinkedIn Work for you:

A 2014 Jobvite survey discovered that 73% of recruiters plan to increase their investment in social media recruiting. LinkedIn is the social network of choice to help find and recruit job seekers. In other words, LinkedIn is one of the best places to find and establish a relationship with recruiters, HR managers, co-workers and others in your professional network. If you haven’t used the social network in a while, give your profile a nice cleaning. Differentiate your LinkedIn profile from your résumé, customize your default headline, and carefully craft your keywords. Taking the time to make these adjustments to your LinkedIn profile will ensure that you stand out from the crowd and that you grab the attention of people who you want to create a connection.

Once your profile is spruced up, take the time to join a few industry groups. These groups will allow you to show off your industry knowledge, and you’ll expand your network with new connections. If you find articles or blog entries relevant to your industry, comment on them and engage in meaningful discussions. You can also add to discussions by writing your own articles, or sharing the articles of others within your industry. You’re an authority in your field, and you want to be a go-to person for knowledge. Putting a few hours of work into your LinkedIn presence each week will demonstrate your passion for your industry, and make it easier for you to connect with others. If you need or want help strengthening your LinkedIn profile, we’re here for you.

 

Keep Track of your Goals:

Creating a list of measurable goals can help you maintain your career transition effort by staying focused and disciplined. More importantly, you’ll be able to keep your momentum going. Some examples of goals to set and meet are: making three calls to contacts per week, scheduling two meetings per week, and helping two people in your network per week. Do small things such as spending an hour each day engaging with industry groups on LinkedIn. Do bigger things such as reaching out to two or three contacts a week, and taking a day out to network with at least one of them. Go even bigger by attending two industry events per week. Start with one per month and work your way up! Ease yourself into these events by starting small, and increasing the number of events you attend each month. If you find yourself losing a lot of money every day you spend searching and not landing a job, you may want to go big from the get go. In my article, “Break Out of Your Comfort Zone and Accelerate Your Job Transition,” I wrote about the strategies for trying new things in your career transition. Having goals and sticking to them will help you get out of your comfort zone and out of the house to network with people. Don’t stop networking just because you had a great interview and you expect to be offered your dream job. ANYTHING can happen, and it usually does. Plus, having a great job offer is a great position to be in, but an even better position is having two or three great job offers and having the employers compete for you. This can make a $20K+ difference in your salary.

 

Starting off your job search by networking is the most effective way to begin your career transition. Think about it. Spending your time applying online is time-consuming and expensive. You spend your time searching without a payoff. Networking can land you a job faster by leveraging your personal and professional connections. Making connections through social networking sites liked LinkedIn is a great start, but attending networking events is also important. You can learn about your local employers and meet local professionals in person. You can add them to your network by connecting with them on a personal level. It is through your network that you will learn about job openings before they’re ever posted to job boards (if they are ever posted), and gain important referrals that get you to recruiters, and ultimately interviews with hiring managers. Taking the time to do it right means building your network and creating goals for yourself. Doing these steps will save you time and effort. The money you save is by landing sooner and by making more! The larger and more relevant your network is, the easier it is to utilize it when you start a career transition.