Archives for Philadelphia

Why the Eagles’ Story is Everyone’s Story

Philadelphia-Eagles (Reebaok Bag) by G Talan on Flickr

Philadelphia is a cynical city. Years of disappointment in our sports teams, being stuck in between the global behemoth of New York City and the country’s capital like the neglected middle child, and, well, our reputation for demonstrating anything but brotherly love has brooded a victim mentality.

It’s tough to be an athlete in our city. When our athletes fail to perform, we are the first to criticize. This goes for managers and owners, too. We wear our hearts on our sleeves, and our sleeves have said, “You disappointed us, but we’re used to it.” It’s still love, it just looks a lot different than what you think love looks like. It’s tough love. It’s the love you endure in spite of being heartbroken over and over again.

That’s how it had been, anyway.

This year, right from the beginning of the season, a new attitude was born. A new outlook started to take shape. It’s something that you can see with your eyes when you watch the season unfold, but it becomes more and more real as you FEEL it happening. It didn’t look like struggling and striving, though you could see they were working hard. It looked like joy, camaraderie, and faith, and it was contagious.

I’ve had this theory since first studying quantum mechanics and neuroscience in 2008 – Philly teams have lost so much because of US – the fans – and our expectations, our shame, and disappointment. On the metaphysical side, we are attracting what we put our focus on, and when we focus on their poor performance and everything they did wrong, we manifest more of that. Then there’s the neuroscience part of it:

I know I can’t take credit for this AT ALL, but the year I formulated this theory was the year the Phillies won the World Series. I was in the city that night, on Broad Street, with my dad. It was a night I’ll never forget. The magic lasted for a while, but there was still an underlying, “Bet they can’t do that again” belief that all the magic and the fairy dust settled back into the dirt. Even though I thought I had stumbled on something significant that should have inspired me to keep the faith, I couldn’t shake the doubts.

This Eagles team, though. This coach, these players. There was even something different about Jeffrey Lurie. It was their surrender and their knowing that their destiny was bigger than any one of them individually. It was their practiced celebrations that let YOU know that THEY knew there were going to be some big moments to celebrate. It was their locker room energy. It was their totally calm interviews, even as another player made the DL. It was their “next man up” mentality. It was their lack of ego. It was their belief in and support of each other. They made me believe, and even though the city is full of cynics, and some remained so, I never saw so much hope and faith among my fellow Phans.

I was at a party with my guy friends from high school when the Eagles played the Falcons in the division playoffs. My friend, Chris (aka Bird, who coincidentally married a girl named Birdie,) was definitely in his cynical mindset by the 3rd quarter with the Falcons leading by one, and an “easy pass” was not completed by Ajayi.

“I can’t help it. Year after year they choke. Why should I believe this will be any different. I’ll just wind up disappointed again. They’ll blow it.”

I shared my theory him, and I said, “Maybe the recipe for winning is faith first.” He considered it for a minute, but you can’t reverse a lifetime of belief in a moment.

A few more moments later he said, “I changed my mind. I decided to believe. I have faith.”

“Do you mean it?” I asked surprised.

“Yeah. I mean it.”

I knew he was trying to see if it would pay off, like an experiment. I sent up a little prayer, got myself in gratitude that it was already granted, and asked the angels to make this an affirming revelation for Chris, who had his own tough times and needed to feel like redemption was not just possible, but likely when you have faith first.

I felt it in my bones, and my smile said, “They already won.” After a field goal, a sack (by us,) and then a nice redeeming run by Ajayi, it was clear the momentum was in our favor. Our next drive downfield was little gain by little gain toward a field goal. Then a critical call went in our favor (not something we have come to expect.)

Then came that moment that Eagles fans anticipate – “Here it is. This is where they always blow it.”

We had a 5-point lead in the 4th quarter, but the Falcons had gotten all the way to the 2-yard line. “Chris, do you still have faith?”

“Yep. I still have faith.”

We didn’t choke. Atlanta did! Our defense was on, and their offense was off.

Before the NFC Championship game I texted Chris. “Remember the winning recipe: Faith first!”

As opposed to 2008 where our champions were mostly veterans, we managed to win with back ups. It was a win generated by something bigger than any individual player, and I believe it is totally repeatable. We’re no longer victims of a curse, or injuries, or bad calls, or bad karma.

It’s not as if our players were perfect in the Super Bowl. They were definitely not! AND the fact that they were not perfect was perfect, because even after they failed to complete a pass, or put pressure on Brady, or get the critical 2-point conversions, they came through when it really mattered – the turnover, the sack, the field goal that got our lead back, that final end zone defense.

They didn’t let their mistakes dictate their destiny. Instead of playing the victim, they embraced the underdog role and didn’t let anyone else decide what they deserved as their destiny. Super Bowl LII was a true Rocky story – THIS is who Philadelphia is, but it’s who anyone can be.

That’s why this is everyone’s story.

 

Say what you want; we’ll show you who we really are – CHAMPIONS, baby!

The Philadelphia Orchestra – Fly Eagles Fly!

Uploaded by The Philadelphia Orchestra on 2017-12-11.

5 Must Do’s for a Successful Job Search Week

Job Searching by NJLA of Flickr

Job Searching by NJLA of Flickr

 

I have received a lot of feedback and many of you found the sample schedule to be very helpful. As a result, I decided to outline five major components of a successful job search activity that you can integrate into your schedule every day or, at least, every week. This will help build competencies toward your expertise in job searching.

Why would you want to be an expert in job searching? I know most people find it rather dreadful. However, when job searching is done right you can feel as much like a rock star in the flow, or in a groove, as you did when you were on top of your game in your job. The major benefit of gaining this critical life skill is reclaiming power over your destiny.

 

1. Research

The research you will be conducting every day or every week will be to identify new target companies, find out what major initiatives, challenges, and potential setbacks your target companies are experiencing. Discover how you can add direct value, and identify people who can either be internal sponsors for you or be your next potential boss. If you are really adept at research, you can even find out some personal things about these people that will enable you to build rapport and hit their hot buttons.

The resources that you will use to conduct this research include the obvious search engines like Google or Bing, as well as local business journals and newspapers, niche authority sites, business directories and databases such as leadferret.com and zoominfo.com, and your network.

If you are really bold and adventurous, you will try feet-on-the-street research. This means that you attend events or “stake out” the location of various popular breakfast, lunch or dinner spots in the vicinity with the intention of procuring intelligence from strangers.

2. Bold Action/Experimentation

The above can be considered bold action. I encourage you to experiment with this approach, if not for the adrenaline rush, for the fact that it can get you further faster than waiting for friends and acquaintances to take action on your behalf.

The activities that fall in this category very well might be outside your comfort zone, and thinking about them as experiments may help you detach from an investment in the outcome. I encourage you to celebrate everything that you try, whether it turns into an opportunity or not. Do keep track of your results so that you can repeat the experiments that produce great results such as pivotal introductions and interviews.

Everyone has a different comfort zone threshold. You know yourself best. If incremental progress works best for you, then take baby steps. A good example is trying out a new social media platform that you recognize some of your potential bosses are using and sending them a direct message. Some of you may thrive on taking a big leap and testing your limits. This could look like a creative gesture such as sending an unusual gift with a hidden meaning.

An example of a successful gift attempt that led to an interview and a job offer was a candidate who was demonstrating his attention to detail by creating and sending intricate origami eagles. I heard a story once about a candidate who sent a shoe with a note that he was hoping to get a “foot in the door.” I’m not sure how that went over, but the results of any of these attempts are going to vary from person to person. This is where it is critical to know your audience.

Being bold can also look like attending a keynote where an executive leader is speaking and asking the best question. The key, really, is to garner POSITIVE attention that you can use as an opening to create intrigue, build rapport, discover needs, and promote yourself as a solution.

3. Network Nurturing

I saw Ellen Weber of Robin Hood Ventures speak at a TedX event in Philadelphia and she forever changed the way I advise my clients to offer help to their networks. The eye-opening insight she shared was that when we ask someone generally, “How can I help you?” we put a burden on them to figure out how we can help them. She talked about a very personally challenging time in her life, and how her closest friends made that time easier simply by taking the initiative to find ways to help, as opposed to waiting for her to direct them, which felt uncomfortable. One friend would drop off meals, the other would help fold and put away laundry, and another even cleaned her bathroom while some friends whisked her away to get a pedicure.

Think of consultative sales, where you are not pushing a product, but asking really great questions and listening earnestly to what the client’s actual needs are so that the solution that you propose sells itself. In a podcast interview between Larry Benet, CEO of the Speakers and Authors Networking Group (SANG), and Vishen Lakhiani of MindValley, I learned some really great questions that are simple to ask and easily uncover some of these needs, such as, “What is the project you are working on right now that excites you the most?” followed up by “What would help you complete it sooner or better?” Another question, which can be quite personal, is “What keeps you up at night?” or “What wakes you up in the morning?” Vishen actually starts all of his interviews with this question, and, of course, he already has a good rapport with guests and relates to them on a personal level prior to the interview.

Once you know what you can do to help, the next thing to do is to follow through. If you cannot identify a need, the next best thing you can do is to share some relevant news, resources, or tools that you think may be of assistance. If you have ever wondered when and how to follow up, now you know.

 

4. Self Nurturing/Wellness

I considered putting this before network nurturing, as we have all heard the analogy of putting the oxygen mask on yourself before you assist others. What good are we unconscious? Well, similarly, as we have written before, science has proven that you are at your best when you are taking care of yourself. Do not skip the workout, but get at least a couple minutes in to increase your oxygen levels. You will actually work faster and more productively. What you produce will be better with fewer errors, meaning you won’t have to re-do that work. Have a cover letter to write? Go for a brisk 10-minute walk or do some jumping jacks. Eat a diet rich in the healthy fats your brain needs to be at its best. Cut out the carbs that cause brain fog and sluggishness. Once you start to treat yourself better, you will perceive yourself as more valuable and be better able to promote yourself as such.

 

5. FUN!

There is a lot more to these start-ups with their ping pong tables and video games than just hoping to attract elusive millennials. Fun is known for increasing creativity, building more cohesive teams, making employees more receptive to bad news or constructive criticism, and, if you believe in the law of attraction, it is apparently responsible for bringing good things into our lives.

You can leverage fun activities for your job search such as organizing a happy hour or bowling night with your friends so that you can catch them up on how they can help you. Moreover, you can also just have a good old-fashioned good time and still reap the benefits in your job search. As we wrote last week, happy people tend to achieve higher levels of success than people who simply work hard. Really! Harvard says so.

 

If you are in a full-time job search mode, I recommend doing each of these daily. If you are working full-time while searching, I recommend that you designate a day of the week for each of these activities.

As an experiment, try these activities for four weeks. Then share with us how intentionally integrating these critical components into your transition helps you build momentum and opens new doors of opportunity.

 

Kick butt in your job search – hike with me!

Baby Daisy and I hiking circa fall 2010

Baby Daisy and I hiking circa fall 2010

Can kicking butt in a workout help kick start your job search? We often find ourselves at a creative peak while we are giving our bodies a moderate workout. Recently, a client of mine was following popular advice: incorporating stress-relieving physical activities into a job seeking regimen. I realized I would have much rather had the conversation with her while we were hiking. She ultimately inspired me to combine two of my passions, hiking and career coaching. (I’ll expand on this in just a moment.)

 

The positive link between exercise and mental clarity is well established. Exercise can stimulate the brain by providing more oxygen and releasing hormones that nourish the cells. Furthermore, exercise can increase brain plasticity by encouraging the growth of new cell connections. Exercise alone is a great way to focus your mind and to reduce stress. Even so, the benefits of exercise can be taken to the next level by combining a work out with brain entrainment. John Assaraf is the CEO of PraxisNow, a brain research company, and he has extensively written about brain entrainment and meditation. In his article “Train Your Brain with Meditation,” Assaraf notes meditation allows you to take control of your brain waves, so you are able to focus on your goals. Think of the combination of physical exercise and brain entrainment as a form of kinesiology.

 

Kinesiology is the study of motion and how muscles coordinate to move the body. More broadly speaking, Kinesiology is a form of natural therapy that seeks to treat the mind, body, and soul. As the body is treated individual goals and self-improvement can aid the brain in forming new habits by creating new nerve connections. T. Harv Eker sums it succinctly in Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, “Where attention goes, energy flows and results show.” (By the way, T. Harv Eker’s Millionaire Mindset Intensive, a financial breakthrough event, may be in a city near you! Go. Here – my gift to you – free admission. Visit www.MMIgift.com and enter the Ambassador 2.0 code MMI39526.)

I want to literally take my career coaching in a new direction by combining it with hiking sessions. I’d like to extend an invitation for local job seekers to join me on the trail this Tuesday in Valley Forge, PA at 9:30 AM. This will not only be a hike, but a job search coaching session. I will discuss the value of my coaching and the advice I have to offer. I will cover writing résumés, getting interviews, acing interviews and negotiating coaching. If you have burning job search questions you want answered, if you want to achieve better job search results and momentum, and if you love to hike and want a GREAT way to leverage a physical activity for your job search, please join me on 9/30 at 9:30. RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/job-seekers-hike-tickets-13284300701

Only 15 spots (to ensure I can answer everyone’s questions.)

The initial event will be free, but I expect to move administration of the group to Meetup and will be charging a nominal $5 per person to cover the administration fees for subsequent Hiking/Job Search Coaching events. Depending on the size of the group, the event may be weekly, biweekly or monthly.

This hike will be moderately challenging. Check with your doctor to make sure you are physically able to participate in this activity.

You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Epic Careering from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising as a result of participation in this event.

 

Executives: Downgrading your career? Consider…

Will your former executive title keep you from landing jobs with less responsibility?

 

Shelf Road Climbing by AMagill on Flickr

Shelf Road Climbing by AMagill on Flickr

In my winter newsletter one of the myths that I asked you to leave in 2013 was that you can accelerate your job transition by pursuing positions with requirements beneath your qualifications. (Subscribe below to receive our newsletter). The truth is…

  

…you can likely prolong your transition and create challenges that need not exist.

 

For some executives, however the pressure, travel, and hours of an executive position are no longer viable for their well-being. Genuinely, they would like to take a step back and just be a cog in the machine and maintain some value to a company, or for monetary reasons they must continue to work. In either case, they are not be ready to hang their hat and be put out to pasture, which does seem like a morbid way of looking at retirement. There are certainly better ways to look at retirement. However, people derive a lot of their self-worth from their job. It can be very difficult to define yourself after the prospect of any future potential career growth is eliminated. You might have good reasons to take the position that is beneath your qualifications, but you will face the same challenges in landing these jobs as the individuals who are pursuing jobs beneath their qualifications because I think it’s the faster way to get hired. Either of these types of candidates are huge potential risks for the employer.

 

Yes, age discrimination does happen, and many people assume that it has to do mostly with health care costs or the risk of short or long-term disability or a company doesn’t want to pay top dollar for experience when they can hire someone young and cheap.  Often, there is a lot more to it than that. Besides the fact that great companies want to give new employees positions that enable them to grow, the morale of a company can be depleted when you have a senior professional reporting to a more junior professional. You may expect that you will be okay with this, but too often senior folks do find themselves at odds with a supervisor they perceive as making rookie mistakes. Let’s face it; your years of experience certainly taught you things that this junior person has yet to learn. How do you NOT voice your opinion and can you possibly accept the wrong decision of your supervisor? This is another stressor in and of itself.

 

From a risk perspective, if an employer has been down that road before and experienced the repercussions of reverse generational reporting firsthand, they will be hard-pressed to be convinced that the reward is worth the risk, though it is possible. To do this, however, your brand and every encounter that you have has to consistently ooze humility. We all know that actions speak louder than words, so what is more humble than volunteering? Volunteering to help out a young company, not strategically, but with the administrative, customer service and execution details that sometimes get overlooked when a company is small and has few resources, is way to prove that you can simply do rather than lead, if in fact you can.

If, however, you have spent the majority of your career honing your leadership skills, it can be difficult to stifle. In fact, it can be so against the grain of your being that it, too, can cause more stress than it alleviates. You may want to consider lending your leadership or business acumen through an SBA, venture capital or startup incubation program instead where you are not accountable for results, but, rather, can enjoy being the impetus for a young company’s success. This, too, has a caveat that many consultants and coaches have to broach – when the client doesn’t follow through. You may be so accustomed to making things happen that it can be difficult to be compassionate to a young leader who has not yet found a way to change old habits, put in the effort, and deliver results. In fact, it can be frustrating.

 

A mistake people often make when they want to downgrade their careers is underestimating the amount of stress associated with a job. People often turn to retail or customer service positions, which really can require a lot of conflict resolution.  Stress is inherent in conflict. Sometimes they land in companies with high attrition, where stress is part of the culture. Another mistake is forgetting how under-appreciated these jobs can be. When you are the top, you are visible and your accomplishments are lauded. At the bottom, you can be practically invisible, and that can be a hard difference to reconcile.

 

At this time I really should introduce you to a new way of looking at stress as helpful. Kelly McGonigal, a Ted speaker and psychologist, has made a confession in a recent TED talk. She admitted that she might have been causing more harm than good by making stress the enemy. As it turns out, the belief that stress is harmful is more harmful than stress itself. She shares a way to look at stress that can save or prolong your life. This actually could mean that you can continue to work in the same capacity of your professional experience and talents, but with a more helpful, healthful perspective. It also suggests that extending compassion and comfort to others will make you healthier. So, perhaps if you were hesitant to end your career because of the self-worth you derived from your work, you can find new ways to be of service to others.

 

If you really need or want retire your brain but not your whole self, data entry, assembly line and inventory jobs still exist. It’s best for your well-being to be around things you love and enjoy. Look for companies aligned with your hobbies and interests in your favorite local trade magazine or niche publication. Check out what meetups exist to mingle among people who share your interests and can point you to companies associated with them. Of course, you can search trusty Google and enter the name of your town + the interest. Those sponsored ads are good for something!  Also, there are some niche recruiting firms that specialize in baby boomer placement. One such local (Philly) organization is The Carney Group. And, now more than ever before, there are legitimate remote, work-at-home positions where you can make your own hours.

 

Nothing you decide you want is wrong. That being said, we sometimes decide we want something without fully evaluating the reality of it. Hopefully with this insight you can make a fully educated decision that leads to greater fulfillment and quality of life, whether you chose to make this decision now or conditions outside of your control necessitated it.

 

Eddie Vedder’s Recent Words to Live By

Wild horse passing by Inyucho on Flickr

Wild horse passing by Inyucho on Flickr

Artists, musicians, actors, speakers and politicians wield an amazing power to captivate and inspire us. Any time I imagined being in the public eye, even if it was as a highly recognized thought leader in careering as opposed to a rock star, I have always been very intimidated by this power. I feel that such a delicate balance must be maintained in order to do the optimum good and not be intoxicated by it, both as the wielder and the recipient.

 

Compared to many of my friends, I would be considered a Pearl Jam fan by default. While I enjoyed grunge music when it emerged in high school, most of my friends and I were much more into hip-hop and R&B. It took me a couple years after it was pervasive to adopt an appreciation for grunge. It took until I met my husband to be a fan of it. We had recently been debating about what defines a true “fan,” a conversation spurred by the recent airing of an exclusive interview between Pierre Robert, Nick McIlwain and Matty Cord at WMMR (93.3 FM Philadelphia) and Eddie Vedder, lead singer for Pearl Jam. For the sake of this blog, we will consider a fan to be someone who attends at least 5 concerts (though I know my friends will say 10, 20, 50…)

 

My husband had been dubbed “the biggest Pearl Jam fan alive” by some of his friends, a title that was recently resurrected at a 90s party we attended last weekend. I know that there are A LOT of extremely zealous fans who would refute that, and he has no interest in defending the title. He’s lost count of how many shows he’s been to, though. Before kids, he would travel internationally to see them. There is no comparison between us; he is the “true” Pearl Jam fan.

 

However, between us, I may just be the bigger Eddie Vedder fan. Yes, I like his solo music, but I am talking more about the person. I don’t claim to know him; I know from my New Kids On The Block days (don’t judge) that I should not delude myself with that fantasy. What I do know of him, however, and what I continue to learn about him impresses me and deeply inspires me.

 

From where he has come, he is unequivocally emotionally intelligent. He is witty and a compelling storyteller. He uses powerful analogies that make poignant points, that don’t just resonate, but linger.

 

For instance, in the WMMR interview, Eddie was asked by Nick, another “biggest Pearl Jam fan alive,” if he is cognizant of the energy that is ever-present between the band and their concert attendees. I have been to a lot of concerts for all types of music, but there is definitely something unique about how unabashed a Pearl Jam crowd is to sing every lyric back to the band at the top of their lungs, some for the whole show  – every word…unabashed! A sea of this. There’s also a LOT of hugging and high-fiving, and I’m talking guys and girls, both known and strangers!

 

Eddie said, “It’s not always there and you can’t predict it.” Then he compared this energy to a horse. Paraphrased from memory:

 

It’s bigger than you. You have to respect it and know how to handle yourself around it, especially if you want to ride it.

 

This was a thought that hung in my brain all day, as I instantly recognized this as the same sentiment I have in regards to the respect I feel must be given to the greatness that is within all of us. If we could harness it, and ride it like a horse (or a wave), we would live exhilarating, fully actualized lives, but only if we were able to maintain awareness and appreciation that we are (all) great because of something greater than ourselves.

 

I can’t help but be in awe of Eddie’s ability to tune into this great energy to create life-altering music (a collaborative effort for which I’m sure he would not want sole credit), produce amazingly inspirational interviews, and engage a crowd like no other I have seen.

 

As a performer, Eddie gives me something to strive for. I would love to have an impact on people’s lives through music (or spoken word) like he has had. Check out the ESPN story on Steve Gleason.

 

Another quote about life in general that worth sharing:

 

“It’s not getting around the fire, it’s getting through it.

It’s about looking out for everyone on the planet.”

 

An aside: I am ecstatic that Eddie recognized WMMR. I decided to leave radio in 2000, when DJs were being replaced by computers, while a former classmate took the reigns as Producer of The Preston and Steve Show, which was then on Y100 (100.3 Philadelphia.) The show moved over to WMMR in 2005 and I am very happy for the show’s as well as the station’s success. Philadelphia is very blessed to have WMMR and XPN on our dial!