Archives for change

Change in Altitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Skyline Drive, VA by LindaDee2006

I’m driving through the clouds on Skyline Drive right now on my way home with my family after an epic road trip. I’m feeling more grounded, and yet also delightfully detached from my earthly obligations.

I’ve had time to reflect on things from multiple physical and psychological perspectives.

Sometimes, attachment to a mission or outcome is what’s necessary to create movement, and sometimes detachment is what’s needed.

If you experience chronic resistance in achieving outcomes, detachment is a great tool to use to allow the flow of new ideas.

I know a lot of job seekers who deny themselves time for guilt-free fun. Some of you need permission, so here it is:

You are allowed, encouraged and absolved to put your career challenges completely aside for many short or few long intervals.

Consider it your spring renewal tool.

Go on. Adventure on. If anyone asks, let them know it’s coach’s orders.

Jimmy Buffett- Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes

No copyright intended uhh yeah

The Low Down on Willpower: Why It’s Often Not Enough and How to Compensate

BEAT THE DIETER S DILEMMA WHAT TO DO WHEN WILLPOWER FAILS TEXT WORD CLOUD CONCEPT by aihumnoi on Shutterstock

Here’s what we know about it: It’s limited, but with the right motivation and the right conditions, it can be THE thing that helps you create the change you want in your life.

But what if… you didn’t get enough sleep one day? What if something stressful happens in your life? (That’s inevitable.) What if your blood sugar is low one day?

The right conditions for willpower can be very tricky to control all the time.

Gretchen Rubin, aficionado of good habits and author of several great books on forming habits, has pointed out that forming one good habit tends to eventually create a ripple effect of other good habits. One of the reasons is because willpower is like a muscle, and if you exercise it regularly, it gets stronger over time. Another reason is because our brains release dopamine when things feel good. When change feels good, we crave more of it.

However, using willpower can consume so much mental energy that we become less effective at work, in our workouts, or at solving problems. Have you ever noticed when starting a new diet that you feel more exhausted or less competent? As I already stated, you can gradually build up a larger and larger reserve of willpower, but you have to overcome those conditions on a very regular basis.

Another great point by Gretchen Rubin is that forming a new habit is so consuming because you have to constantly consciously make the decision to NOT engage in the bad habit and TO engage in the good habit until the new habit becomes automatic and you no longer have to even think about it.

My biggest frustrations as a coach were when my clients simply would not do what I was advising them to do. In my early years, this took a toll on my relationship with them, as I would grow very frustrated. By digging deep into the everyday individual challenges of engaging in a new activity with integrity from my own perspective and getting some coaching in emotional intelligence, I developed a greater sense of empathy and compassion. As much as my clients appreciated my patience, compassion, and validation of their feelings, it kept them comfortable in their challenges instead of moving them past them.

In my quest to be the most effective force for personal transformation I can be, I was left with a couple of nagging questions:

  • If our conscious efforts can so easily be sabotaged and have such a cost, what can we do to get our subconscious to be on board quicker so that new habits become automatic?
  • If being tough and no-nonsense doesn’t inspire change in my clients, and being too compassionate doesn’t inspire my clients to change, and I know that they want change, what is the right balance to use and the right tools to use that will help them love themselves through the change and create a safe space for them to transform?

As a leader, have you ever asked yourself these questions? The drive of a leader is to oversee the development and transformation of others into leaders. I have to imagine that all leaders have discovered the same strengths and shortcomings of tough love and compassion. Finding the balance takes trial and error and experience. Even with the wisdom of experience, we have to be able to apply that wisdom when conditions, like lack of sleep, low blood sugar, stress, are present.

For the answers, I turned to science: neuroscience and psychology. What they have discovered in the past 10 years negates much of what we knew prior and a lot of what I learned in college, but some fundamentals remain. Planting roots for good habits is still very much based on the cognitive learning methods of positive and negative conditioning, but we are finding that negative conditioning has some detrimental side effects that contribute to mental health declines, even though it appears to be more effective in the short-term. This is why positive psychology branched out as a practice in 1998. Public perception of this practice has held it back, as people believe that positive psychology is merely about “thinking positive,” which many struggles to do with much regularity. Much the same way, the media/Hollywood and a few mal-intended practitioners of NLP (like hypnosis, but using regular conversation to induce trance) have given hypnosis a very bad reputation.

Take the highly-nominated Academy Award film Get Out. Ugh. It’s a shame that people will not seek out a solution with such potential to change their lives for the better because they believe this portrayal of hypnosis as some malevolent form of mind control. I have already had people claim that hypnosis is “too invasive.” If you watched this film, I couldn’t blame you for getting that impression, but you must realize that this was a movie created by the imagination of Jordan Peele. You might also get the impression from watching this film that white people are wackos, or that Peel thinks so. You might not know that Peele is half white himself.

The truth is that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, it’s a way to get you into rapport with your subconscious mind, and if I were to give you suggestion under trance that was out of alignment with your values and morals, you would come out of trance. The other truth is that I am not using hypnosis to impose my will on you. I was trained to make sure that the ecology and well-being of the client come first, and your words are the most effective words I can use, so before a session, I am capturing how you feel, words you use and what you want most for your life post-session.

I had to clear up my kids’ perception of hypnosis, as they have seen cartoons where characters bark like a dog. I did see a hypnosis show in which fellow college classmates did some crazy things, but those were the same people who would be seen doing crazy things without the influence of hypnosis, and perhaps under the influence of something else that would lower inhibitions. I noticed that the hypnotist sent some people back to their seats. These were the people who would not have wanted to do something crazy.

Psychology was my career of choice as a high school Junior. But someone had said to me that people become psychologists because they’re crazy themselves. This turned me off to that career path. I don’t regret my communications concentration – it had a lot of cross-over and I certainly use it heavily as a coach. However, I know enough now to feel certain about the contribution that I can make with hypnosis, and I’m not going to let the perceptions of a practice discourage me from promoting it and using it.

You may decide that it’s still too mysterious, or that you want to build up your own willpower muscle. I believe that it’s an admirable endeavor, especially if you can afford the time it takes to do that.

If, however, you can’t afford to take a lot of time, or the pace at which you need change has to keep up with the pace of business, technology, life, etc. consider hypnosis as a safe, natural alternative to a fallible, limited reserve of willpower.

 

Schedule your individual session here: https://calendly.com/epiccareering

For corporate change initiatives, including leadership transformations, e-mail Karen@epiccareering.com to schedule a consultation.

Ben Harper – The Will to Live

The Will to Live (1997)

Why Hypnosis? Answer: Disruption – For Real

Meditation by Johan Bergs on Flickr

Eight years ago I watched a video during my pregnancy called The Business Of Being Born. Learning about the cascade of interventions and how they can lead to further complications was frightening. I vowed to give birth under as many natural conditions as possible, avoiding all potential UNNECESSARY medical interventions, including, but not limited to an induction, epidural, vacuum, episiotomy, and C-section. I was already seeing midwives at a birth center. A client who was a midwife convinced me of its safety and the dedication of the staff at this particular birth center, which was right across the street from a hospital. I decided I needed some help keeping my body AND mind working in my favor, to control my environment internally and externally as much as possible, so I invested in a $500 5-month course called Hypnobabies.

It worked, not just once, but twice. I might not have been too good at staying calm and relaxed the first time, stretching labor with Daisy to 5.5 days with back labor. Even so, I delivered naturally, without drugs (not without pain; I was just able to manage it,) and without any other interventions. I’m certain that had my plan been to deliver at a hospital, they would have induced me when I showed up the day after my due date and labor slowed down rather than send me home, even though it was perfectly safe to labor at home as long as it took, since my water had not broken. The midwives, however, sent me home, advised me to get sleep if I could, and I came back two days later with much better progress. Daisy was born 5 hours later perfectly healthy.

During the second time, I was more effective at USING the contractions (reframed as “pressure waves” during the program but I reframed them again to “progress waves” for the 2nd birth) to accelerate labor to active labor; I delivered Adelaide within hours at the birth center, without drugs and interventions.
The course was actually training me in self-hypnosis so that I could induce hypnosis with the drop of a finger. This turned off my conscious mind where all my fears are to allow my subconscious to be a better partner to my body and allow things to happen naturally.

So, I already had a great confidence in hypnosis and had invested in courses and CDs for other things after that, such as increased focus and intuition. I have been studying related topics, such as neuroscience, guided imagery, creative visualization, meditation, etc., focusing on scientific evidence of efficacy in much more depth since then.

It’s not what you see on TV or at shows. It’s not mind control; it’s natural.

Ultimately, here is why I finally became a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist:

As my clients have grown more willing to allow me to talk about other areas of their lives, I have grown ever more acutely aware of how intertwined our career is to other realms of our lives and vice versa. If a client was not able to land a job using the best practices, it was often because of an issue in another area of life.

During this epiphany, I realized that I need to be MORE than just a career coach if I want people to get where they want to go. I saw this in my own life too: A breakthrough in one area will start a cascade of positive impacts. Conversely, a limit or problem in one area can bleed into other areas of my life, holding me (and you) back from having what we really want in life, and wasting days of our lives that we could be happy, but instead we feel miserable and powerless.

The good news: Our mind is immensely powerful, and there is a lot that can be done to leverage the mind to create the change that leads to happiness. However, out of all the modalities I studied and tried over the years, hypnosis is the fastest way to access and leverage the mind’s power.

Why? Because hypnosis works with the subconscious mind, where we learn, store memories, operate automated body functions, and program habits.

Too many coaches focus on motivation and willpower. Some people are naturally inclined to be willful, but too many more have to fight the brain’s natural inclination to resist change. Without hypnosis, achieving change for the majority is a struggle. It’s an unnecessary struggle. Hypnosis makes change easier, meaning you have to rely less on willpower to overcome the mind’s resistance. Instead, the mind is working in your favor!

My sense of urgency to help MORE people create meaningful change NOW has continued to grow, as has my desire to impact more realms of life than just career. AND, if I can help you become your best self (which I can,) you can then also bring the best out in others, and then there are optimally creative and powerful minds working on the big issues together.

Also, the more I learned about the applications of hypnotherapy, the more I thought about current epidemics that it can help tackle, besides career disengagement, like:

>> Mental health issues, since most of the mass shooters and suicide victims were found to be on psychotic drugs for conditions that can be relieved by hypnosis (in conjunction with proper Psychological treatment)

>> The opioid crisis, since hypnotherapy has proven successful in alleviating chronic pain

>> Obesity-related disease, since forming better eating and exercise habits is integral to proper weight management

>> Stress-related diseases, which may as well be all of them since stress decreases your body’s own ability to heal itself

I really could go on and on….

What Science Supports This?

Besides what I mentioned above, a lot!

In the 1800s, before chloroform and other anesthesia, the surgery mortality rate was 80%, and patients died most frequently from infection, shock and/or fear. Hypnosis was attributed to lowering the fatality rate for surgeries by 10%. (10 years later ether was found to be 90% effective and hypnosis was abandoned.)

The American Dental Association includes hypnosis among methods dentists and dental students can use for pain control and sedation for patients undergoing dental procedures.

Freud, before he founded psychoanalysis and created a branch between psychology and hypnosis, studied at an elite school for hypnosis.

Hypnosis was accepted by the British Medical Association in 1892. In 1958, hypnosis was accepted by the American Medical Association as an ORTHODOX medical treatment. In fact, medical doctors and psychologists committed to helping patients find relief from a variety of conditions and chronic pain refer patients to hypnotherapists. It works in complement to boost the efficacy of standard medical or holistic treatments.

American Psychology Association has endorsed hypnotherapy as an effective method for pain relief, treating anxiety, forming good habits, and breaking bad ones, such as smoking. The British Psychology Society published a paper as recent as 2001 citing “convincing evidence” that hypnosis is effective for the same.

Other scientifically proven applications for hypnotherapy:

  • Improves memory – This is why meditation and hypnotherapy is now sometimes taught to post-graduate students
  • Dizziness in advanced cancer patients – Of the many symptoms that decrease quality of life, dizziness is one of the biggest, and it can put the patient at risk of injury, leading to further decreases in quality of life
  • Palliative care (end-of-life care) – Reducing anxiety can prolong life while also making the last days more comfortable and enjoyable

Why now?

Have you ever lost a loved one to an untimely death? I have. Two years apart my sister-in-law died at 51 and then my nephew died on his 28th birthday. We don’t know how much time we have. I see the pace of change accelerating, and I want to do everything I can while I’m on this earth to keep the trajectory going in a positive direction. That’s my calling; it’s my mission. It compels me.

Have I Changed Careers or Turned Against Coaching?

Absolutely not! I still believe fully in coaching and the advantage of having an objective guide to help identify blind spots so that you know for what to receive hypnotherapy. Plus, hypnosis is just one of many tools now in my tool belt, and it is not a cure-all (or a cure.) It still has to be applied responsibly and appropriately! There are things from my coaching experience that have taught me that what appears on the surface can be very different than what lies beneath. Some hypnotherapists without this experience may take things at face value, and treat only what appears on the surface, when what lies beneath is at cause and, potentially, in need of greater medical, psychological or specialist expertise. I will continue to qualify my clients as good or bad candidates for my solutions, because it is of utmost importance to me that they get what they came to me for: meaningful change.

Ready for change NOW? Schedule a session!

Corporate leaders: How many employees do you think are putting off doctor’s appointments, leading them to miss more work days in the long run, or failing to adopt healthful or successful habits? Invite me in for a workshop for dramatic improvements in collaboration, creativity, performance, and productivity.

Ella Fitzgerald / You Do Something To Me

No Description

Step 4 to Career Happiness: Allow, Accept, and Architect

The Architect’s Hands by Steve Grant of Flickr

When you visualize yourself in your ideal future, is there dissonance that makes you resentful, fearful, or even guilty?

Does it make sense that if you experience these emotions, you are not able to fully go for it?

Actually, you can, but you have to acknowledge these emotions, confront them, and overcome them first. You have to dis-empower them, or they stand to call the shots without you even realizing it.

  • They may prevent you from reaching out to a VIP.
  • They could make other things more important than attending that event or filling out that application (which, as you know by now is your last resort, Plan D, but still sometimes necessary).
  • They could keep you from articulately and powerfully promoting yourself when you do get the chance to interact with potential game-changing contacts.
  • They could stop you from stepping up in a meeting to share your idea.
  • They can keep you from trying at all, even just doing online research.

How do you dis-empower them?

The first step you did last week. You noticed them. You have no chance of stopping them if you do not even realize they are there, and tuning in to how you feel when you really put yourself in the place of having your ideal future is a great way to initially notice them. However, the next step is to catch them while they are operating in your life.

Mel Robbins talks about this phenomenon called activation energy – it is a natural occurrence when you have an inkling to take action, but it dissipates after five seconds if you do nothing (what she calls the five-second rule).

She is pretty clear about this – fail to take advantage of activation energy, and you are sabotaging yourself. Why do we do that? These automatic thoughts that manifest as negative emotions are the reason.

So, next time you have an idea to do something that could potentially bring you closer to your future, be mindful of your decision.

Do you decide that you’ll do it later? Do you really ever do it later?

Do you not only add it to your list of things to do, do you add it to your calendar?

Or, do you take care of it right away?

According to Mel, you do not have to necessarily take care of it right away, but you if you take a baby step, you will experience all the good feelings, such as pride and optimism, that can lead you to forming good action-taking habits faster. You can become addicted to these good feelings, and that will lead you to take immediate action more frequently. This immediate action will compound toward momentum that gets you ever closer to your ideal situation.

If, however, you do none of these things, really look at why. By really, I do not mean what was your excuse. In most cases your excuse is just how you justified it to yourself to ease the negative feelings of inaction – further guilt, shame, etc. that can compound instead toward depression and anxiety, which further hampers your ability to take action on your own behalf. By really look at why I mean, what was the automatic thought and corresponding emotion that led you to do nothing.  Allow these thoughts to surface. You could have been suppressing them so long you have tuned them out. It could take some time for you to fully take notice of them.

I am NOT intending for you to feel bad about your inaction. As I explained, this is of little value and can actually be a hindrance. The intention is for you to find the lesson; identify the thought, acknowledge it, listen to it. Give it a chance to make a case for truth. Act as the judge and jury, weighing the veracity of this thought.

Will your friends and family really ostracize you for achieving something great in your life?

Will you change for the worse by being successful?

Will you be a hypocrite?

You may find, actually, that there is truth to these statements, in which case you now have to make an empowered choice to either accept mediocrity for the sake of integrity, love, and acceptance, or you can decide that achieving a more ideal version of your life is worth risking love and acceptance. You may also decide that it is ultimately up to you whether you maintain good character or not (which it is). Perhaps your ideal future is not as ideal as you thought, and you can create a new vision of an ideal future that would not have you risking so much.

On the other hand, you may adopt a “make it work” attitude. If your neighbors, friends, or families really cannot accept a more successful you, they will learn to. You can reassure them. Love is stronger than judgment.

You may also find none of these things are truth – just fears, perhaps even fears that were someone else’s originally – not yours. You adopted them, but you can now reject them.

Before you do, though, thank them. Be grateful for your new awareness of these thoughts. Either accept them or release them, and then feel the sense of peace that you have with your decision.

 

Whether you decide that your ideal vision of the future is not worth what you think you could lose, or you decide to adopt a new way of thinking about having an ideal future, you get to be the architect of change in your own life.

 

Step 2 to Career Happiness

Happiness by Goutier Rodrigues of Flickr

 

Some people grow up believing that they can do anything. Some people have parents that reinforce this belief. When you grow up under these conditions, you develop a very friendly perception of the world. You perceive very few limits and are attuned to identifying and leveraging resources to achieve goals. You are apt to try things that other people would never attempt, simply because you have an ingrown faith that success is inevitable.

Many would consider you blessed, even charmed, and they may be resentful. Just as it is hard for them to understand why you are so lucky, it can be more difficult for you to empathize with people who suffer from career and financial shortcomings. To you, it looks like a choice.

You are not wrong, however the choice is not a conscious one.

We all run on programming that we developed at critical, impressionable stages growing up. Even two people growing up in the same household can develop very different beliefs with a different meaning they ascribe to the same event.

Last week, my challenge to those who identify a recurring, automatic belief that success is for others was to imagine yourself in your current circumstances, but in the flow. The flow is a state of being in which you feel that just by being your fabulous, highest self, things are working out perfectly.

Perhaps your commute to work has green lights all the way. There is a parking spot right up close. Nobody comes to talk to you for 15 minutes while you evaluate and plan out your day. The meeting you dreaded has been rescheduled. That person you’ve been trying to reach has returned your message. The challenge that you were working through last week has a viable solution. The week you requested off has been approved. The project you and your team successfully completed has received high accolades and has been noticed by key players in your organization. Your boss now wants to talk to you about growth opportunities. Everyone you speak with is picking up on your positive vibes and returning them with friendly gestures and offers to help. You end your day having satisfied your list of tasks, and even made headway on some strategic initiatives that will help you gain even more visibility and credibility. On your commute home, your favorite song comes on the radio, and you sing like no one is watching, even though they are. You get home to a peaceful, clean house or apartment and your favorite meal, courtesy of someone you love. After spending some time engaging in a favorite pastime, you excitedly take a look at your day ahead, and rest easy knowing everything is as it should be.

Have you ever had a day like this?

If not, or if it has been a while, the first step is visualizing your day to go exactly as you want it to.

Practice it every night and or morning for a week, and then start this new exercise:

Visualize your ideal day with the circumstances you perceive to be ideal.

Perhaps you no longer commute, and instead work from home or from anywhere. Perhaps instead of speaking with grumpy customers all day who complain about a poor product your company makes, you are onboard and supporting clients who love what your company has helped them do. Perhaps instead of having a boss who rarely offers support and guidance, you are working underneath one of the most brilliant minds in business and she invests an hour or two each week to coach you on how to get to the next level. Maybe instead of following someone else’s rules that do not make any sense, you are architecting the best practices and standard operating procedures that are helping your organization run über efficiently and effectively.

Sometimes we think that we envy someone else’s situation, and then we put ourselves in it and realize there are things about their situation that we would not want.

I have a client who thought his ideal employers were in the city, which would have been an hour or longer commute every day, after running a company from home for many years. He took a job in the interim that was still a significant commute, but much shorter than the city. He realized in the first week of having that job, and not having seen his three-year-old for several days in a row, that working for those employers in the city would not have made him happy.

Now that he knows this, he has a greater peace and empowerment around his choices. He can more confidently invest his time and energy into a next step that will make him happy at home and at work.

His homework is the same as yours – once you have spent a week visualizing yourself in your current circumstances in the flow, spend a week visualizing ideal circumstances, from wake up time to sleep time.

The best time to do this is in the morning when your conscious and subconscious mind are still closely connected. You may also choose to do this as you go to bed, though sometimes I can get myself so excited that I do not sleep as well.

This exercise alone does not stop those recurring beliefs that success is for other people. You will still want to notice them, and when you do, go back into your visualization, but affirm for yourself that this is possible for you.

 

If that feat is very challenging, ask yourself why it isn’t possible for you.

Are these answers truth, or story?

 

Get in the Game

Baseball by PaulMLocke of Flickr

 

Was it hard to tell this Monday from any other Monday at work?

Can you remember the last time you felt triumphant at work?

Has it been more than three years since your last big professional growth spurt?

Your answers may reveal that you have been coasting. Sometimes we need to coast, like when we are going through big personal challenges. The impacts of these challenges can last a year or two (caring for an ailing elderly relative can take much longer). It can take us out of contention for professional growth and opportunity. There is only so long you can coast before ultimately running out of gas.

It may not be your fault; bad companies and bosses can kill your motivation and inhibit your desire to do more than a job requires.

Regardless, it is against our nature to stay stagnant too long and it can be detrimental to our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Ambition is something that we naturally generate. We can get into situations where we are re-trained to kill our own ambitions, and it can start at a very early age.

Pretty soon we are convincing ourselves that we are fine; the status quo is comfortable; change is unwanted and scary.

My friend since middle school ended a marriage she was unhappy in after she found evidence on Facebook that he was cheating. A couple years later she is very grateful for that evidence, because she may have stayed unhappy even longer without it. She is currently engaged to my brother’s friend, a man I have known since he was a boy, who I know is making her happy, will make her happy, and will be the loyal and affectionate spouse she wanted her ex to be. She said, “You don’t know how unhappy you were until you are happy.”

I do my monthly Epic Career Tales podcast so that people can be inspired by the level of success and happiness that other people have achieved. I know it is not always good to compare yourself with other people, but if you aren’t getting back from a job what you put into it, then you already know that you’re not as happy as you could be. But how do you know how happy you could be unless you compare yourself to how happy other people are?

A lot of you reading this right now have an automatic thought coming through saying, “Yeah, but those people aren’t me. They are [enter any one of the following: smarter, luckier, more privileged, prettier, wealthier, not as busy, more educated, better connected, etc.]”

If you don’t, that is great for you, because you have few reasons not to take action and become happy.

However, if you recognize that thought, that is also great for you, because recognizing it is the first step in taking its power away.

This post is not meant to put you on a path to extreme change in your life so that you can have happiness. I realize that if you have this thought then you also perceive the effort of becoming happy as potentially futile.

You may want to take action, and I encourage it, but effort is something I want you to save until you have a clear vision of what you being happy in your job could look like.

Tony Robbins has said, “Activity without a high-level of purpose is the drain of your fortune.”

So many of my clients are hesitant to picture what it could look like to be happy because they think that it will lead to greater disappointment.

Tony Robbins has also said that our expectations of what our reality should look like can cause our misery.

I just want to leave you with one distinction that might help clear up what seems to be a contradiction.

Be mindful of how you define happiness. The change you think might be necessary in order to achieve this may not be anything external.

Instead of thinking in terms of what you get when better conditions exist, think about you and your current conditions. Picture yourself in the flow, knowing you are at your utmost best and not needing anyone else to notice or recognize you for it.

This is a baby step to get your head back in the game of your career. For now, do not worry about winning the game, and certainly do not think about the championship – just play.

 

If you can generate a sense of happiness even in unfavorable conditions, you can become unstoppable.

 

Signs That a Change is Necessary

Photo courtesy of Joe Dunckley on flickr open source - "Sign not in use" - https://www.flickr.com/photos/steinsky/143733824/in/photolist-dGF4o-hR3yDr-9vtV-ckrjMS-ncDnVz-jvDa8w-vRLVd-3J618s-6i85PB-7wrL-kuBpdZ-hSEsCG-qR9Rhy-r6rMPw-r8DPWY-qR9NRm-r6rLYU-r8A4BF-qRj2kF-qR9RUW-r6rMA5-qRhhGi-qbJheS-qbWyCt-r8DTAS-qbWBdZ-qRj91e-qRhfXB-qbJfYW-r8DVzm-r6rNe9-qRbkb9-r8DSh9-qbJhuw-qRj6X6-qRbjz9-p1xgG1-mQXieg-mQXioV-mQXiyV-mq8UfZ-hR4qwk-moc28H-moc1YK-hR4atf-na8jbW-mBDz8V-p3xhNy-p3zaUc-oL5v17 - Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

Photo courtesy of Joe Dunckley on flickr open source – “Sign not in use” – Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic -http://bit.ly/signnotinuse

Last month I had the honor of seeing one of my favorite speakers, Jen Groover, in-person at my alma mater, Ursinus College. I had seen her PBS Special, many of her other YouTube videos as well as a fireside chat that she did with Philly StartUp Grind. I had heard her tell the story of how she was driving to work as a young graduate with a knot in her stomach. She actually was so anxious about going to work that she fantasized about getting into a car accident just so she would have a good excuse not to go. Thankfully, she trusted her inner wisdom and followed a passion that led her to an epic career, twice. Seeing her tell this story inspired me to re-publish this article that I wrote in 2007. Plus, a friend recently shared here job grievances on Facebook, so the time feels very right to help her, and anyone else suffering mentally AND physically because they are enduring the wrong job.

I pursued the employment industry because I enjoyed matching people with opportunities and creating a win-win-win for the company, the candidate, and my firm. I moved into working one-on-one with jobseekers because I gained invaluable knowledge that I knew many people needed to help them succeed. And boy, I wanted them to succeed. Being a great judge of character is a necessity to being a great recruiter. It was clear to me after several months that I would rather help these people than determine that they are not good enough to present to our clients. (Author’s note: Within my first year, I also realized that judgment was actually an impediment to helping them, and I started to work on becoming more compassionate – a brand signature of my business today.) I stuck with recruiting for several years and had no regrets. The years that followed provided me with even more experience and knowledge. There did come a time, however, when I had to recognize that it was time to move on.

In late 2005 after I was married, it seemed as though everything that I read, watched or overheard was leading me to the same conclusion: I need to create something of my own to share the intelligence I had been procuring and provide services for jobseekers in my area that no one else was offering. Omens were coming from every direction; I even had a fortune cookie tell me that a change in vocation was coming. (Author’s note: I still have it on my desk in my home office to remind me how listening to these signs and taking action has paid off in my life.) Even with all of these signs, it was the help and encouragement of a coach that pushed me to bring my vision and mission to fruition.

As a career coach, I bestow the power to pursue a career path that leads to life fulfillment. There IS a formula for career happiness, and a process that, when followed with integrity, ultimately results in the ability to choose the best opportunity among multiple viable opportunities. So many people make decisions to stay stuck, or not try, often because of assumptions, bad advice, self-limiting beliefs, or, my “favorite,” the market. In doing so, people stand in their own way of happiness, either by not acknowledging that a change is necessary, or worse yet, recognizing that a change is necessary and not empowering themselves to make that change happen.

I do understand, to a point, the psychology behind not changing. (Author’s note: I am keenly aware now, after years of studying neuroscience, behavior-change gamification and human performance optimization, how our brains and our bodies resist change.] It is difficult and scary. You put yourself out there to have other people determine if you are good enough or not. And what if they decide that you are not? What if there really isn’t anything better? What if what you want isn’t attainable? Coincidentally, Jen Groover’s book is called What If and Why Not? and I highly recommend it if you relate to these fears.)

I have seen loved ones emotionally and mentally beaten down by work environments in which hostility between colleagues is tolerated while appreciation and recognition are scarce. The longer that they stayed there, the more they felt like disposable commodities. It was as though they should feel fortunate to be employed. It’s essentially a corporate form of mental abuse. It hurt to watch people who I know are unique, important, and deserving of so much more made to feel small and insignificant. (Author’s note: This was a big determining factor in what made me choose to make the contribution of being a career coach, as I detail in this blog.) Once I was recruiting, it hurt more, because I could see with greater clarity what they needed to be happy, and I knew it was attainable. Regardless, it still had to be their decision, their resolve, and their commitment that made it happen.

In an effort to minimize the number of people who waste precious time waking up every day to do a job that does not utilize their talents, does not fulfill them spiritually, financially, and/or vocationally and that they resent or despise, I will share with you some questions and answers that may indicate if it is your time to recognize the signs and create much needed change in your career for the sake of your life.

1. Are you regularly grumpy on Sunday evenings and every morning but Friday?

If you answered yes, this indicates that you have anxiety about going to work. Everyone gets grumpy sometimes. Even people that love what they do will have times when they wish they were somewhere else. Timing and frequency are the factors that have the most weight in determining the cause of the grumpiness.

2. While you are at work, are you spending more time finding personal business to tend to rather than critical deliverables that your boss is expecting?

While most people will admit that they tend to procrastinate from time to time, your job depends on your abilities to deliver. When you prioritize unimportant personal business ahead of what you need to do for you boss, that communicates that you only care enough to keep face, if you even care enough to do that. Your boss could very well be the problem, and you may not be able to keep your position in that company and change your boss. You can certainly change something.

3. When you come home from your workday, do you head straight for the television, your bed, or a drink?

We all are expected to output more these days. It can be exhausting. This is why it is even more critical to do work for which you have passion. It will be energizing more than it will be draining, and it will allow you to come home and tend to personal matters and relationships rather than spending hours decompressing and zoning out until you can sleep, wake up, and do it all over again.

4. Do you encourage your closest friends and family to NOT use your company’s product or service?

If this is the case it has to be a definite sign that you are not contributing your days and hard work to a company that is going to survive! Find a product or service that means something to you and then find a position within that company that allows you to use your talents and abilities to further their progress while you further your career.

5. Are you just brimming with ideas that no one at your company seems to hear, let alone implement?

Companies sometimes do not utilize the talent that they have to the fullest. This seems like such a waste of great energy and money! That goes for you, too, if you are staying there allowing all of your brainchildren to wither and die!

While the United States is still the land of opportunity, it is lagging behind in production and innovation. I would like you to imagine, please, every person doing what he or she loves to do. Wouldn’t we all be so much more productive and fulfilled? Idealistic? YES! Achievable? Maybe not for everyone, but it happens every day. If you want it to be you, it can, but you have to believe it and commit to it!

(Author’s note: RIP, Sheila Kutner, The “Velvet Hammer.” Your influence lives on through me and all of your clients who decided to commit themselves to careers that make a difference.)

Scorpions – Wind Of Change

Music video by Scorpions performing Wind Of Change. (C) 1991 The Island Def Jam Music Group

How Fear Limits Careers

No Fear by The 5th Ape from Flickr

No Fear by The 5th Ape from Flickr

Has the term “what if?” ever ruled your decision making? Have you ever settled for safe and predictable in your professional life so you can avoid a fear of the unknown?

 

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can eat away at all rational thought and positive energy until all you’re left with is raw anxiety and shattered self esteem. Fear comes in a variety of forms and there is no area of your life it can’t touch. For professionals, fear can often cause poor career decisions. Since the economic downturn of 2008 and the very slow recovery, fear has led many bright and talented people to settle for less. This can lead to a multitude of problems down the road, including underemployment, being overworked, and a stifled path to career recovery.

 

The fear of having no income at all can often funnel professionals into jobs in which they are underemployed and indefinitely underpaid.

 

You might be a bright-eyed accountant who has gotten the pink-slip at work. Your unemployment is about to run out and you’ve had no luck landing a job with comparable pay. Ultimately, you settle for a part-time job at a new firm or you take a job that pays you far less.

 

How about another example? You could be an administrative assistant at an insurance company. The company folded, leaving you unemployed and, in order to pay the bills, you take a retail job. The income is mediocre in comparison to the money you received on unemployment.

 

Perhaps in your previous executive role you were applying decades’ worth of skills, education and experience to make huge contributions to your previous employer, but you are being told you are “overqualified,” so you resort to finding a role as an individual contributor where your wisdom and insight are not appreciated nor are you compensated for them.

 

Or, you could be a journalist fresh out of school, unable to find work and so you settle as a waiter at your local restaurant. As a career coach I’ve seen plenty of people let fear lead them to unsatisfying career choices.

 

Let’s say none of the above examples apply to you. You still have a job in the profession you love. Even so, you’re not happy with your circumstances at work. Your company may have cut back on staff, effectively doing more with fewer people. You find yourself working longer hours at the job. Or you may be worried about being let go so you agree to take on more responsibilities and job duties for the same amount of pay. Your hours increase, your free time decreases and your health and well-being also suffer. You want to make the transition to a job that offers more pay, better hours or a combination of the two. Your fear has caused you to stick with a job you dislike simply because you can’t see a way forward.

 

Do you see yourself in any of these examples?

 

While it’s true that we all have to pay our bills, I think we can all agree that is preferable to pay our bills AND be fulfilled in our career. Fear can make you believe that you have to choose between the two.

 

Whether you are underemployed, underpaid or overworked the fear of not bringing in income or losing a current career can be detrimental in the long run. If you invest yourself too fully in a part-time job, it leaves you with less time and energy to pursue your career. Likewise, finding yourself overworked as a professional can also leave you with little time and energy to make the transition to an ideal employer.

 

Lost time is lost money.

 

Do not let fear rule your career-making decisions. Take some time to rationally evaluate how you will move your career forward as a business professional. Ideally, you will strive toward a job that motivates and excites you. Additionally, you will already have had your own personal criteria in mind. The number of hours you will work per week, your salary, culture, growth opportunity, flexibility, healthcare benefits and even personal time are a few examples for you to consider. Making a decision that meets about 80% of your personal criteria is a great, logical way to help drive your profession. Change can be a cause of fear but courage and rationality can lead to a successful career in the long run.

 

You don’t always have to use logic to make your decision; emotion can be a good place to make a decision from, as long as it is positive emotion based on excitement, enthusiasm, passion and adventure. Fear may still be present. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to move forward in spite of it. Don’t let fear drive your career decisions.

 

 

By the way…If your career was thrown off track by a fear-based decision, we will help you get back on track.