Blog - Leadership Coaching and Executive Branding

Staying Productive During a Crisis

​​Let me be crystal clear: No one is an expert at navigating this current situation.

I hesitate to advise anyone right now on coping because I’m having my own challenges. However, I’m making some things work and I’ve tried some things that didn’t work. My hope is that what I’ve learned can also be of value to you.

Before COVID-19, I thought I had working from home mastered. I did, in fact. I had a routine and it was all on the calendar. I had an app my clients could use to set up appointments. I was prompt. I liked being prompt. I had my business stuff together.

Since then…

I spent the first couple of weeks in the Poconos with my family. We were as secluded as we could be from people. I have suffered from serious respiratory illness for two years in a row. One of those years nearly broke us financially, so I was not about to take chances in my lovely, close-knit neighborhood. We taught our kids how to properly social distance, but the moment a dog came by, they completely ignored us (I also have one kid with ADHD who lacks impulse control.)

Those two weeks in the Poconos felt a little like a vacation. I continued to work, albeit with a spotty internet connection. It wasn’t sustainable, but it worked for the time we were there. I kept all of my appointments. I even landed a new client. I set realistic deliverable dates for my client’s work and scaled back my curriculum for my students.

My kids logged into school apps even though they weren’t required to, so they got a taste of distance learning.

We didn’t have the usual chores. We didn’t see many people at all. We went to the lake, played ping-pong, worked on puzzles, played card/board games and watched movies. We celebrated St. Paddy’s Day and my first born’s big 10th birthday. We had plenty to eat and drink. For the most part, it was an ideal way to transition into stay-at-home life.

We returned home to a missing chameleon and a dead turtle. Right away, my anxiety spiked.

I knew there was a lot to do, but I felt a bit frozen. I gave myself grace.

That kicks things off with lesson #1.

Lesson #1: Give Yourself Grace

There’s already so much to feel anxious about. Give yourself grace when it comes to getting things done on a normal timeline. Don’t commit yourself to anything too soon. Allow for those times when news hits you like a ton of bricks. We are all grieving our old lives! You might be angry, frustrated, worried, glum, whatever…  Allow it. Allow everyone else to feel their feelings as well. Extending grace to others doesn’t mean accepting abuse, but it might look like taking a few verbal punches you don’t need right now. Walk away when it’s needed. Feel free to communicate, “It’s okay to be angry (or whatever,) but it’s not okay to take it all out on me. Find another outlet (see below.)”

Lesson #2: Communicate Specifically What You Need

Last week, I set an expectation that since I am the primary worker bee, I’d need support to make sure I have ample time and conducive conditions to work. Once we got home, I was interrupted many times by kids not knowing how to log in, missing passwords, not understanding assignments, etc. My husband was busy, too, but with basement organizing.

I didn’t communicate my expectations clearly enough and I left my door open, which was misleading.

Clear delegation: I had to have another talk with my husband while keeping in mind he is stressed and losing patience, too. I specifically told him I need him to be the point person. I need him to check for e-mails from the teachers daily. I passed on to him everything I know (so far) about what websites they need to log into, passwords, hours I’d need him to reliably be supervising the kids, etc. At school, our youngest daughter had an aide, someone with divine patience, to make sure she was on task. This wasn’t going to look like just letting them log in and leaving them be.

Boundaries: I used the whiteboard to start mapping out a schedule so that everyone would know when I was “on the clock” and not to be disturbed. I made it clear that there would be certain hours during the day that they would not be able to ask me a question. They might see me getting coffee, stretching my legs, etc., but that was not a signal that I was free.

Systems: I explained to my family members that the tasks I usually spend time asking them to do should just be automatically done – picking up socks, putting away toys, cleaning up the table after meals, etc. This has never worked before, so my fingers are crossed on this one. I made a list of all the fun family things we can still do together, then explained that if my work gets interrupted, I’d have to take things off that list simply by virtue of the fact that I will not have the free time to do it. This has made this concept a little more tactile.

Once I know that we have found a flow, I’ll adjust my appointment calendar and be able to let clients self-book once again. It’s all felt so unpredictable. My brother and his family are 3 weeks into distance learning and they’ve settled into routines and seem much more relaxed. I’m looking forward to finding that rhythm and predictability.

Lesson #3: Find Several Outlets

A physical outlet: Playing ping-pong (Huller-pong, technically – as we play full contact) was awesome! It was physical (our way of playing is) and it was hilarious. It allowed us to let off some steam in a healthy way. Find something physical you can do alone and with your family.

A cathartic outlet: I see a lot of people clearing out their junk drawers and basements. Don’t feel like you have to tackle that right now if you don’t feel up to it yet. You can start smaller, like coloring or organizing your sock drawer.

A consumption outlet: Find something you can consume every day (photos, stories, videos, music) that uplifts and grounds you.

A creative outlet: It matters not what you create, just that you create! Paperclips, paper, strings hanging off an old shirt, there’s bound to be something in your home you can use to create. Learn how to make masks for your local frontline healthcare workers or food preparers. If there’s nothing physical, create in your mind such as a story, a song, a poem, you get the idea.

A nature outlet: I see many people are starting gardens. If you don’t have a yard and the parks by you are closed, bring some nature inside.  Order a plant to be delivered to your home, especially if you live alone! I also see people are adopting or fostering pets.

A negativity outlet: When it really gets bad, have a go-to – a pillow you can punch or scream into, something (not living) you can squeeze. Destroy some weeds or lanternfly eggs.

A quiet/calm outlet: Create as much of a sense of calm as you can as often as possible. Breathe. Zoom in and notice the detail on things of beauty, especially in nature. The more calmness you can create in your mind, the more you can prepare your brain for higher levels of conscious decision-making and action. You can’t change the circumstances you are in, but you can change your reaction. You’ll thank yourself later.

Of course, you can also quiet your mind by journaling! Your descendants and even future strangers will want to know about this time in the world. Put your thoughts down. Get them out of your head. Negative thoughts will lose their grip the moment you put them on a page for the light of day to see. It is so very helpful in creating peace in your mind.

A learning outlet: Maybe it’s time to see what kind of software came free on your device that you never tested out. There are so many online learning opportunities right now. Epic Careering will soon launch its own Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint program to help more conscious leaders and aspiring leaders master influence to move their companies toward making conscious decisions with reverence for people and the planet. For more details, contact me directly through social media or join our Facebook group: Raising Corporate Consciousness.

**************************************

Right now, it’s okay to not feel okay. Do what you can as you can. As time passes, some things will get easier and some things will be harder. We will get through this together.

Godsmack – Serenity (Official Music Video)

Playlist Best of Godsmack: https://goo.gl/ihjM8N Subscribe for more: https://goo.gl/mps91z Music video by Godsmack performing Serenity. (C) 2003 Universal Re…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

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

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

What You Need To Do To Prepare for a Down Economy

​​Most professionals in my generation and above have already survived a few down economies. In fact, my struggle in a down economy and the lessons I learned that eventually got me back on my feet are what compelled me to eventually shift from recruiter to coach.

There are still a lot of unknowns about our current global situation. So, it’s in this time of uncertainty that I’d like to shed some light on how to thrive through it all. Below are my recommended tips for navigating this new territory.

Evaluate: Do you need to pivot?

You’ll likely notice that some sectors will be heavily hit, but others may be prospering and growing. So, should you redesign your career path around this?

I advise everyone to have a purpose-driven, passion-fueled long-term plan. It is the best way to optimize your overall career trajectory in terms of growth, fulfillment, and income. It’s also the best example you can provide to your kids.

I also recommend fully dedicating yourself to your plan. Learn and apply the best practices of proactive transitioning (taught by me at Epic Careering and Cabrini University) for at least 3 months before devising and following a backup plan.

At this time, there will be fewer and fewer people able to afford even three months in transition. You may need to adapt after two months of a dedicated transition, especially if what you learn from people in the field (not from job boards) is that hiring has stopped, or will slow down for a season. In the short-term, you may be able to easily translate your strengths, qualities, and past achievements into value for a stable industry.

I recommend choosing a strong sector that offers you an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution, such as:

  • Biotech/Pharma/Labs and the companies that support them
  • Hospitals/Healthcare are most certainly in need of clinicians, telehealth professionals, and janitorial staff
  • Health/Wellness
  • Scientists of all kinds
  • US manufacturing
  • Supply Chain/Logistics
  • Farming/Agriculture/Consumer Goods
  • Food/Grocery Delivery
  • Online Entertainment/Video Game Industry
  • Online Education/Coaching/Remote Learning
  • App Development/Remote Tech such as developers and online support
  • E-Commerce

Then there are the industries that will be hurt in the short-term, but will rebound:

  • Hospitality/Travel
  • Service-based industries that require in-person support
  • Retail – Many will not feel confident buying luxury items, high-tech consumer items, name brand clothing, jewelry, and other non-essentials while there is the uncertainty of how long life will be disrupted.
  • Housing
    • While this isn’t a market correction that will impact housing directly, the housing market has been prime for correction for awhile with pricing majorly inflated, inventory low, and demand high. The Federal Reserve, as you probably know, dropped interest rates to nearly 0%, which would normally spur growth in this area. Foreclosures are stalled in the meantime, which is not going to add to the inventory driving prices down. New construction is stalled during critical months, which will put home completion behind. All signs point to the housing market picking up mostly where it left off once things return to normal.

Finally, we have the industries that will be majorly disrupted and in need of overhaul before rebounding can even be predicted:

  • Higher Education
  • Health Insurance

If you are less than 80% certain that your current or planned career direction provides you with your best chance at financial security, schedule a consultation with a job market expert at Epic Careering.

Fine-Tune Your Brand

Keeping your résumé updated is, of course, a basic recommendation from any career coach or résumé writer. It’s the equivalent of taking your car for regular oil changes and inspections. If you want a high-performance résumé, a strong brand is still your best tool in positioning yourself competitively in a competitive market. Working with a branding expert, such as Epic Careering, will help you identify and articulate the unique value you offer above and beyond your, or any other candidate’s, qualifications. When copy, such as your résumé, LinkedIn profile, cover letters, and networking messaging, is crafted to build a subconscious sense of urgency and establish you as a hot, in-demand candidate, you can still garner competing offers, even as the volume of opportunities shrink.

Reconnect

If you’ve neglected networking, it’s catch up time! The good news is that as humans, we naturally crave connection (even introverts crave connection). Some people are still settling into a new rhythm and may not be able to commit to a time to talk when you reach out to them. They may be challenged by having the ability to structure their workday since previously, structure was provided by their leadership. In this case, practice patient persistence and empathize with the disruption we are all dealing with. As usual, don’t take lack of response personally.

“Some will, some won’t, so what?! Next!”

Many others are craving connection now more than ever. Many people are focused on the future and still have to continue with their company’s hiring. “Work with the willing,” as Cy Wakeman says. It may take you a higher volume of outreach than before, but you can still multiply your momentum by having productive conversations that convert into multiple introductions and opportunities, especially with a compelling, powerful call-to-action within your message.

Focus on Wellness of Mind, Body, and Spirit

Even during “normal” circumstances, nothing impacts your results in life more than how well you are feeling. Do whatever you can to adjust your lifestyle and schedule to incorporate alternative methods of achieving a calm mind, strong heart, clear lungs, and a positive outlook.

Even though we need connection, some of us are already emotionally fragile and need more uplifting versus more gloom and doom. Be careful not to impose your anxiety (which is justified, just not helpful) onto others. So, if you are feeling anxious before a scheduled call or outreach e-mail, take some time to exercise to get endorphins flowing or meditate to achieve a calm state of mind.

Incorporate time in your schedule to be alone and engage in activities that raise your vibration while limiting activities that induce stress. Be aware of any inclination to pick up your phone or device to check for constant updates. Recognize if looking for updates becomes a compulsion that isn’t serving your state of mind. You can find a helpful mini-hypnosis session on overcoming social media addiction, as well as some other helpful videos on this Facebook page.

Islands In the Stream

Provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment Islands In the Stream · Dolly Parton · Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits ℗ 1983 Sony Music Entertainment Released on…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

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

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Conscious Leaders Stepping Up – Keep the Conscious Leadership Going!

If the Chinese government had conscious leaders willing to defy big pockets and do what was best for people and the planet, we’d all be going on with life as usual.

Instead, here we are blaming each other. This crisis is certainly taking a toll on our healthcare system and supply chain, along with increasing societal vulnerabilities. Mistakes were definitely made and they will need to be evaluated. In my opinion, criminal negligence or actions that cause deaths deserve justice but instead of placing blame right now, I’m most concerned about how we will all get through this together.

We need social distancing to curb the spread of Coronavirus. Stopping the spread is for the highest good of all, especially our fragile, immunocompromised, and those already susceptible to pneumonia and lung issues (me), but doing so is going to financially devastate many.

The financial ramifications of social distancing are not falling off the radar. Here are things being done to soften the blow while we curb the spread:

  • The Department of Labor is allowing states more latitude to enable more employees, which may include part-time employees or self-employed contractors if a state allows, to file for unemployment without having to quit.
  • Pennsylvania is working to protect workers forced into quarantine or isolation by guaranteeing their jobs.
  • Companies are being compelled to move to all-remote reporting and for those that can’t, a bill is currently in the Senate to obligate employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide additional FMLA benefits for Coronavirus-related absences. Larger companies are being encouraged to extend PTO. I’ve heard payroll taxes may be suspended to help relieve the burden on those companies.
  • The Federal Reserve cut the benchmark interest rate to 0%-0.25%. I haven’t heard yet that considerations will be made for the mom-and-pop shop owners and self-employed, such as my husband, who still rely on being on-site to do work.
  • Some utilities are offering to waive late fees and forego service suspensions. Some are even offering special payback plans.

Things individuals can do to support themselves and others:

  • Many fitness instructors who cannot go to the gym are leading remote workouts. I hope they open a Patreon account to enable those who are able to donate to do so. If they’re really tech-savvy or find some tech talent-for-hire, they might be able to set up a subscription service.
  • Musicians can do the same thing. I’m already thinking about how my band can hold our practices via Zoom video conferencing. We’re preparing for a June 20th gig that may no longer happen in person, but we could still perform digitally. If digital performances are well-received, maybe we’ll be able to play even more since our largest obstacle to practicing and gigging is logistics.
  • While it’s discouraged (if not already prohibited) to go dine at your local mom-and-pop restaurant, many are delivering or offering food for pick up. You can also buy gift certificates to keep them floating during this time.
  • I have seen that some people are continuing to pay their cleaning services even though they are not using them at the moment.
  • While parents aren’t busy shuffling the kids to and from practices and activities, this is a really great time to think about what’s important to accomplish in your career. It’s a good time to devise a strategic career plan, get your career tools into shape, revisit and refine your brand, and start getting reacquainted with people in that sphere.

In a lot of cases, it’s the conscious leaders of corporations who have stepped up to show the world how to show up for each other. They deserve attention to show others the way, and they deserve positive reinforcement for doing the right thing.

Here are some of the companies rising to the occasion.

  • Comcast has taken various different measures:
    • Offering two months of free Internet for students to study remotely. If you have an X1 or Flex remote, just say “Coronavirus” into your remote and their collection of grade-based educational content will appear.
    • Pausing their data plans.
    • Extending hot spots to accommodate low-income communities.
    • Expanding broadband to every customer.
    • Offering bill assistance and agreeing not to overcharge customers (AT&T and Verizon also agreed to this, though I heard people are still receiving shut off threats), charge late fees, or shut off service for non-payment.
  • Bill Gates donated $100M to fund testing and Adobe is offering free Creative Cloud tools for students through May 31.
  • Alibaba owner Jack Ma sent 500,000 tests and one million masks to the US.
  • The Airbnb CEO is allowing penalty-free cancellations during certain booking dates. Guests can cancel a reservation and get a full refund. Hosts can also cancel reservations without impacting their Superhost status.
  • Citadel is donating $7.5M in financial relief to China’s hardest-hitting provinces.
  • Apple is allowing Apple cardholders to skip their March payment penalty-free and interest-free.
  • I have to give a huge shout-out to Rep. Katie Porter on gaining the commitment of the Centers for Disease Control Director to fund COVID-19 testing for all.

Keep in mind that we are all dealing with is a direct result of wealthy collectors of exotic animals for food, healing, and status who have lobbied the Chinese government to keep wet markets open. This is in spite of most of the Chinese people NOT shopping there or supporting the continuation of these wet markets where SARS and MERS are said to have previously originated.

Let’s all make a call to action for the world’s wealthiest to act with more consciousness. Let them know via social media, sharing, tagging, etc., that we are watching and we need them to step up now more than ever.

Amazon, while grappling with many supply chain and logistics shortfalls, is implementing controls to make sure that its sellers aren’t price-gauging customers. It will also continue to pay all hourly office employees, such as cafeteria workers and janitorial staff, during the period of mandatory remote reporting. Drivers and fulfillment workers, meanwhile, are busier than ever before. On the other hand, Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, is being criticized for asking his Whole Foods employees to donate their time off to sick co-workers instead of footing the bill.

Richard Branson at first downplayed the threat of the virus ahead of his cruise line launch and now is lobbying the British Prime Minister for financial relief for the aviation and travel industries in order to save jobs.

Do you think these leaders can do more? If so, I encourage you to let them know what you want to see them doing more of.

More importantly, share the actions of conscious leaders that you have admired and tag them so that they can get the recognition, appreciation, and positive reinforcement they deserve!

U.S.A. For Africa – We Are the World (Official Video)

Music video by U.S.A. For Africa performing We Are the World. USA For Africa #USAForAfrica #WeAreTheWorld #Vevo

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

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

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Conscious Leadership is NOT Just for Managers and Executives

Anyone can step into conscious leadership, but it does take something – courage.

Once you are conscious, it is a compulsion. Just like you can’t unknow something, but you can forget, you can’t become unaware and then lose that awareness. You can, however, become less aware. It’s easy, really, in this hustle and bustle, noisy world.

Last week I made a plea and gave the following challenge to a little over 20 people who are seeking change in their employment situation.

If you are currently working, and there is something you really enjoy about your job that makes you hesitant to change, first step into conscious leadership and make a case for improving the situation for all.

The top three reasons people leave jobs (money, a bad boss, and lack of growth opportunity) may be something you can change. It’s not always possible, but I’d wager that it’s more changeable than you assume.

Conscious leadership starts first with self-awareness. It requires refuting your bias, including a bias that things are a certain way or people are a certain way, and they can’t change. The growing sentiment of resignation is the most dangerous threat to progress and real positive change.

For many years in my business, especially as I was raising small children, I was content to help leaders land new opportunities where they were able to contribute their whole selves, expand and grow, and improve their lifestyle. However, over the last few years, I have begun to think more about the casualties left behind. The people who are now left to suffer through bad conditions, those who are at risk of losing their jobs due to unsustainable or unethical business practices, and those who will continue to be underpaid, undervalued, and living less than their best lives unnecessarily while unscrupulous, greedy “leaders” make decisions that conserve their way of life at the cost of others.

I can only help so many people by working with people one-on-one. It’s time that I and other conscious leadership coaches make a compelling call to action to inspire more leaders to follow the Conscious Leadership framework. This way, rather than just saving themselves from a bad situation, they can take action to improve the situation for their teams and across the organization.

This is no small feat, and it takes extreme courage. I get that not many are willing to risk their jobs, income, financial security, and potentially their lifestyle to answer this call to action. Additionally, there is no guarantee that it will make a difference. However, I think about the people of the past who were willing to speak out a risk their relationships, homes, freedom, and lives for the sake of a better world. We need more of these people in corporations right now.

The following are particular situations in which stepping into conscious leadership does the highest good versus stepping out into a new company:
  • When your company keeps losing good talent, but their mission is critical to saving and improving lives.
  • When you love something about your job, like the commute, your boss, or your team, but decisions being made from higher-ups are proving detrimental to the company’s performance, the customer, or the planet.
  • When innovation lags, creating a competitive chasm that puts jobs at risk.
  • When stress is causing burnout, high disengagement rates, or even sabotage.

How do you do this?

As I mentioned, it starts with self-awareness, then expands to “other-awareness” – empathy, and then to advocacy and execution.

In a company, change starts with a business case. It’s a goal of every company to stay in business or to sell for a profit. This requires making the business as strong and sustainable as possible.

Those issues that have you wanting to leave are vulnerabilities to a business’s sustainable success. Losing talent further weakens the company. Most likely, a company will have to hire someone at a higher salary/rate than they paid a tenured person. Further, they lose the knowledge capital, relationships built, and potentially face costly setbacks on deliverables.

There has never been a better talent market than right now for someone like you to make a case for improvements that enhance working conditions, engagement, retention, customer experience, and income.

Making a business case is essentially how you get decision-makers to understand the short and long-term business benefits of change – all kinds of change.

Below are the major steps and guidelines in presenting a business case.

When making a business case:
  • Gain clarity on the most pressing issue using available data, e.g. P&L reports, customer satisfaction surveys, empirical data about the number of people who have left, etc.
  • Evaluate and pressure test as many solutions as possible, asking direct stakeholders for input on how the solutions will impact their contributions directly and indirectly
  • Assess and analyze stakeholder’s priorities and agendas
  • Do your research on costs vs. benefits of proposed changes
  • Anticipate objections; validate and address them upfront
  • Scrutinize all potential costs, including non-monetary costs/losses, researching the least expensive, effective options, etc.
  • Present facts, data, and case studies as stories
  • Refer to the company’s own mission/vision statements and quotes from press releases
  • Promote the competitive advantage of your proposed change
  • Paint a clear picture of all of the ways in which the business will thrive after the proposed change is implemented
  • Compose your presentation professionally as a slide deck, white paper, video, or Flipboard.
  • Don’t use “should” language; instead, use “if/then” statements
  • Identify and engage an influential sponsor using all of the above
  • Make a clear ask that outlines all that would be necessary and nice-to-have in order to achieve the outcome you have promoted
  • If rejected, ask them to help you understand why
  • Re-strategize and re-present using feedback

Just like any communications process, the outcome has more to do with the spirit and emotion that the communication is sourced from versus the actual words chosen.

For an optimal outcome, be in the spirit of the company’s best interest at all critical junctures: procuring input, soliciting a sponsor, requesting a meeting to present, while presenting, upon closing and in the follow-up.

Communicate from the emotion of confidence that the stakeholders and decision-makers are wise enough to see your proposed change as a no-brainer once you have presented all the facts. Along with the solution and the ask, identify what decision-makers have to do to fulfill the proposed change.

I get that this process may be too much for you to undertake if what you are fighting against is being spread too thin.

Even so, you still might consider taking action, and I hope you do.

There is potential loss should this not produce the desired outcome. Stepping up to leadership can create rifts and speaking out can ruffle feathers. The gains, however, are not to be overlooked.

Imagine that you present your case using this proven method, fail, and everyone knows it. Even then, you’ve just answered some looming questions on people’s minds about the prospects of things getting better. Even if you were not able to create change at your company, you have given people a reason to follow your lead now and jump ship. So, essentially, you still saved them! You’ve also still inspired people to advocate for themselves and others. You may have even earned some loyalty from people who will now follow you anywhere knowing you have their back. This social capital is a tremendous asset to your career and can be leveraged to help you land and negotiate a great salary. So, you may suffer some short-term losses, but you ultimately gain in the long run!  Though what you tried to teach the business decision-makers may not have had an impact while you were there, they may take a second look at what you proposed once you and a bunch of people leave after you leave the organization. Then you will have also still saved them and the company.

I do have to warn you that if you miss critical steps, come from a misguided mindset, or fall into many of the common consciousness traps, you may create new problems for yourself and/or others.

However, I am confident that you are fully capable of embracing and embodying conscious leadership. It might just very well be your next best career adventure and an optimal chance to reach your own potential and leave a legacy.

The Epic Careering Conscious Leadership framework called the Consciousness Ripple Formula will be launched in the coming weeks to usher people through creating transformational outcomes.

The Consciousness Ripple Formula will include:
  • Simple and Sneaky Soft Skills Training
  • Mastering Influence
  • The Conscious Decision Protocol
  • Stimulating Sponsorship Step-by-Step
  • Clear and Compelling Communication
  • Conquering Calendars

More information will be available soon. In the meantime, please join the consciousness conversation. If you are interested in learning more about the Consciousness Ripple Formula, join my new Raising Corporate Consciousness Facebook group. If you are a conscious leader looking to spread awareness of conscious corporate practices, I invite you to join my new LinkedIn group, the Conscious Leadership Connection.

Andra Day – Stand Up For Something feat. Common [Official Music Video]

“Stand Up For Something” by Andra Day feat. Common. Written by Diane Warren and Lonnie Lynn, from the original soundtrack to the motion picture “Marshall”, i…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

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

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

How You Respond to a Slump Determines How Quickly You Recover

Perhaps it’s just because my activities attract these people into my spheres of influence, but it has been my experience that most people are self-critical, especially when the chips are down and you need someone, especially you, in your corner more than ever. So, when you experience a slump, it’s important to remember how you respond to it determines how quickly you recover.

A slump could look like doing the same things that had good outcomes in the past, but no longer being able to generate those good outcomes consistently. It could also look like not having as much energy and/or time to complete the same activities that previously generated good outcomes.

For me, nothing zaps my energy, time, mood, and brainpower more than when my daughter is going through a rough patch with ADHD, usually because she ate something to which she is sensitive. I have found that when my daughter is going through a hard time, my momentum with my professional or community leadership endeavors downshifts. When my daily routine goes smoothly, I can solve a hundred problems easily each day, and, even if I hit challenges, I can still feel like forward progress is being made. I value action, I value my own action, and I value completion and forward progress. I have flow on my side, which creates bandwidth for fun and creativity. However, because my self-worth is tied closely with what I accomplish, when I am not able to accomplish as much, I question my self-worth.

When I have to constantly fight to push forward in my daily or weekly routines, I find myself spending time and energy on repeated reminders, solving mysteries about how things got to school/came home, re-communicating what has to be done AND why, addressing and correcting defiance with time outs (when there’s time), taking away privileges, and keeping a vigilant watch over the environment. That isn’t even including the energy spent trying to control the environment as best I can where I am not, such as in the cafeteria, classroom, or activities. These bouts of dietary and behavioral rebellion are usually accompanied by illness striking our home, in which I have to cancel or reschedule plans.

Periodically, when I endure this with my child, I fall behind on my strategic initiatives, and usually sacrifice self-care to maintain the tactical activities – client delivery, grading assignments, preparing for upcoming speaking engagements, etc. This makes me personally susceptible to depression, anxiety, and illness, which, of course, puts me further behind and makes me feel even worse.

Straining external conditions and situations, physical illnesses and mindset are prime culprits for a slump. The first symptom we usually notice is a lack of good outcomes. Noticing a slump is the first step, but distinguishing that it’s a slump – a temporary setback – is key to preventing a downward spiral. This can be the hardest thing to do when you’re in the middle of it, especially if you are like many of the people who have confided in me that they are prone to being self-critical.

Rather than see a slump as a natural ebb that will soon resolve, you, like me, might attribute it to who you are. Thoughts arise like, “I am a failure. I can’t do anything right. I give up.” This thinking is not only unhelpful but can be quite harmful. Obviously, giving up is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Giving up on a positive resolution will severely inhibit the problem-solving and motivational centers in your brain, helping that problem persists longer than it needs to.

I would hope, but can’t be certain, that if you are going through something that requires your immediate attention, or time to process, grieve or heal, that you will allow yourself the grace and time to do just that. Even those of us who value our own ambition and action sometimes have to recognize that even machines need a break in order to sustain performance. You might be labeled a superstar at work, and you might start to see that as your identity. This might cause you to push yourself further. However, every strength can also be a liability. Even superstars need stagnancy from time to time. Some of you are not able to allow yourself to slow down without justification to yourself or others. When I’m feeling behind, I tend to want to spend my time toiling away at tasks backlogged in my to-do list. I have become more and more aware that the toiling will take 3x as long if I am running on low motivation, low confidence, low energy or low hope, and the results will be lackluster at best. Test this for yourself.

The next time you feel you are running behind and are attempting to tackle your to-do list, track how much time it takes for a repeatable task and evaluate the outcome. Then, when you go to repeat that activity, first, spend a bit of time (even two minutes) trying one of the techniques/practices shared here, then track how long it then takes you and evaluate the outcome once again.

Be intentional about tuning in to how you feel before and after you try the following practices. Measure on a 1-10 scale how motivated you feel before and after these exercises. You don’t have to try them all at once, but keep this list handy so you can try each tip out over time and see what makes the greatest impact for you.

***********************************************

Compile a Slump Stockpile

Either physically or digitally, or both, make a list of things people have said or would say are special about you. It could be things that you’ve done that made a positive difference in someone’s life, even if they didn’t actually thank you – record what you think they would say. Imagine someone in your life who wanted to pay an ultimate tribute to you so that you know how worthy and wonderful you really are. Imagine people in your life taking the opportunity to tell you and show you exactly how much you mean to them, as we do at funerals when unfortunately it’s too late for someone to hear it.

Also include actual kudos that you have received such as thank you cards, e-mails, notes, social media posts, testimonials, letters of recommendation, etc.

Keep this stockpile handy and review it whenever you start to doubt your value.

Inspiration/Flow Immersion

Make a list of the people and things that inspire you – teachers, shows, bible verses, fables, quotes, books, songs, people, natural phenomenon, places, etc.

Make a list of things that comes easily to you when you do them. These are the activities that make time fly by, even if you don’t particularly enjoy them. An example would be cleaning. It might not be at the top of your list to do, but when you do it, you get into a groove and you start to get a lot done quickly. On the other hand, it could be something you truly enjoy, like drawing, coloring or doing puzzles.

This really sounds counterintuitive, right? Why should you spend time doing these things when you’re already short on time, overwhelmed and feeling burdened by all you have not accomplished? To remind yourself what it feels like to easily accomplish something! By completing a task that comes easily to you, you can boost your confidence in your own abilities and it will make you feel more competent to do the next task.

Mindfulness/Journaling

One of the first benefits you experience from mindfulness is an awareness that you are not your thoughts and you are not your emotions. This is such a gift. With greater practice, even in the same session, you can expand your awareness to recognize that you are not your actions or inactions. You are not your circumstances. You are not your results. You are not your problems.

When you sit and intentionally quiet your mind, you can pay attention to emotions and thoughts as they arise and acknowledge that they are separate entities. You can also write out thoughts to examine them visually as you practice mindfulness.

Affirmation/Incantations/Prayer

Once you understand that you are not your thoughts, your subconscious is primed to accept the belief that you are, in fact, a divine miracle. And, if you take the opportunity to remind yourself consciously, while your subconscious mind is open, that you are a miracle, that you are a gift, and that you are the recipient of many gifts and miracles, you are then making progress toward your highest, whole self, who is capable of handling any situation.

Many coaches call these affirmations. Tony Robbins takes them up a level and refers to them as incantations, the difference being that you use your whole body, mustering up all of your emotion when saying them to get all of the cells in your body on board. Granted, you might feel a bit silly when you first do them, even in private, they can be very powerful.

Prayer has a similar effect, though instead of acknowledging self-power, it fortifies your belief that any problem is surmountable with this external power within or at your side. While some are devout and think of prayer as a first resort, I know many others who may have lost connection with their faith. They have forgotten about prayer and sometimes need a reminder in its strength.

Fresh Air/Natural Light/Living Things

The office design trends of today and tomorrow acknowledge the biophilia hypothesis, an innate compulsion to connect with living things. Many people find it challenging to quiet their mind during meditation, but mindfulness does not have to occur with eyes closed or fixed on something still. You can practice mindfulness just by tuning into the finer details of nature – the veins and various shades in a leaf, the way petals some together, how a tree moves with a breeze.

Speaking of breezes, focusing on breathing is something that many people find challenging when first starting a mindfulness practice, but you can just as easily tune into the sensations that the air has on your skin or how the grass feels beneath your feet and be practicing mindfulness.

Though it’s proven that natural light enhances sleep, vitality, and performance, even looking up at a starry sky can help shift your perspective. It allows you to notice how small some problems are in relation to the vastness of the universe.

Outside Assistance

You don’t have to get yourself there alone. I encourage you to reach out for help. If it seems daunting to think about talking to a therapist, just spend a few minutes searching online or calling your insurance company to see who might accept your plan. The most important part is taking the next step, even if it is a small one. It can feel like progress just to start gathering some tools to do “the job” [any job, including recovering from a slump]. Any incremental improvement in how you feel brings you closer to being the true you who can and will get through a temporary slump.

Coaches are also champions of who you want to be. They help guide you through the process of acknowledging a challenge and finding a solution. They help you see your blind spots (habits or beliefs you are unaware are running automatically) that are silently sabotaging you from being in alignment with your highest self or keeping you from achieving what you aim to achieve. Coaches also help you see your hidden strengths. They bring forward the hidden talents that you don’t realize uniquely equip you to successfully deal with any situation that is holding you back.

Hypnosis is also an avenue worth exploring, as it leverages your own neurobiology in eliminating resistance to change while accelerating the adoption of belief systems and habits that dramatically shift results. Give it a try.

***********************************************

Don’t feel bad if you don’t jump from hopelessness to invincibility. This is a practice and a process. Because we are not naturally inclined to change, it will take persistence.

Keep in mind that these are just a few of many techniques you can use to overcome a slump. When I share techniques like this, I am inviting you to experiment with something new, even if it makes you feel a bit skeptical.

If you are experiencing a slump at work, and the dip in performance is noted, traditional systems may make you inclined to cover your butt and defend or deflect instead of being transparent. This is unfortunate because it often leads to trickle-down toxicity that negatively impacts performance across teams. However, in a culture where authenticity is demonstrated and encouraged by leadership, slumps are less likely to decline into a downward spiral and they are less likely to cause short and long-term impacts on others. Even if your workplace traditionally promotes superficial success, I urge you to be honest. You might lose that job, but that working environment might just be what’s primarily responsible for your slump! You may not be able to perform at a high level while your workplace culture is out of alignment with your core values or while your position doesn’t fully leverage your innate talents or strengths.

It seems counterintuitive, but the sooner you can separate who you are from where you are, the sooner you will be able to embrace your own power and leverage help to recover from a slump.

Keep starting anew, no matter how many times you try without success. Remember your slump will not be permanent, because nothing in nature is permanent. Even the cells in your body completely renew after 7 years.

Aerosmith – Back In The Saddle (Audio)

Aerosmith’s official audio for ‘Back In The Saddle’. Click to listen to Aerosmith on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/AerosmithSpot?IQid=AeroBITSaudio As featured…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

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

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Conscious Leadership vs. Servant Leadership: Why Do We Need Another Leadership “Flavor of the Month”?

Related to the disenchantment with corporate life that is driving people to leave, which I covered a couple of weeks ago, people are growing skeptical, if not cynical, that companies are actually capable of delivering on their promises of positive change in any meaningful way.

Words can be manipulative, cause division where they’re meant to cause unification, and seem pretty empty and meaningless when that’s the case. People are sick of initiatives with catchphrases that amount to nothing actually changing for the better. Change initiatives face enormous resistance, and if an organization uses an inauthentic tactic to execute change, it strengthens that resistance into an even larger obstacle. There’s no sense trying to get buy-in from people who have been duped before.

Some companies are legitimately trying, and their leaders have good intentions. They lack, however, the blueprint, consistency, trust, and/or tools to spread change to every level of their organization and turn that into its new identity. Not all of them can see their blind spots or identify vulnerabilities.

Other companies steamroll change, disregarding casualties and intimidating the survivors into submission…or else.

When starting my new Facebook and LinkedIn groups, I reached out to you for your input on potential names for the groups. The responses that I received demonstrated that people don’t want a new “flavor of the month” when it comes to leadership. It seems people are becoming resigned to anything really transforming systemically. Even if a company can achieve an internal transformation, it sometimes has to operate under a larger system of archaic values and profit models used by its vendors, regulators, shareholders, etc.

About 5 years ago, I was explaining to a client that the way he was describing his philosophy on leadership seemed to align with “servant leadership.” He talked about how he didn’t see himself as the authority. He considered his team members the subject matter experts and he viewed his job as making sure that they had what they needed to perform their best and deliver for the organization. Sometimes that looked like lobbying for new technology, sometimes it looked like fighting for extra bonuses or vacation time, and sometimes it looked like taking all of the blame and accountability for something that went wrong. In his past, it also looked like whistle-blowing against his employer and providing his leadership with a healthy dose of truth when it came to negotiating project scopes and timelines.

At the time, I saw servant leadership as the noblest kind of leadership to emerge. I loved the idea of an upside-down organizational chart where value is shifted to the frontline.

Servant leadership goes back to 1971 although it wasn’t necessarily in every corporate leader’s lexicon until Southwest Airlines brought it en vogue as a model. It then took several other pioneers to demonstrate that this style of leadership is responsible for dramatic performance and engagement improvements.

While Southwest continues to lead in culture and servant leadership, they may not qualify as a consciously led corporation. I read recently that their on-air water quality was among the poorest and contains high levels of E. coli bacteria (that’s the poop bacteria.) This might just be an overlooked facet of their procurement, but it could also be a symptom of leadership that is not fully considering the wellness of people and our planet at all levels of the organization. I’m not saying that they are absolutely not a conscious company, but I am distinguising between servant leadership and conscious leadership.

There is so much I would not refute about the value of servant leadership, but it’s not an end-all, be-all leadership model for 2020 and beyond. Like many “flavor of the month” terms that came before it, once a way of leading earns the spotlight, unconscious companies will come along and “borrow” it. They will make it their new manifesto and try to sprinkle it around to get people excited and re-engaged. They will do this, however, without a real concrete blueprint or training to imbue it into all leadership decisions and relationships at every level of the organization. So, transformation falls flat, the results it was intended to garner don’t last, and the community becomes skeptical of new initiatives. Future change becomes that much harder to execute and accept.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on why NOW is the critical time for conscious leadership to earn the spotlight and get adopted in corporate America.

While conscious leadership certainly shares values with servant leadership, such as authenticity, transparency, and empathy, there are a few key distinctions that augment servant leadership so that results are sustainable and profits don’t come at a cost to people or the planet.

One key difference is accountability. There is a risk in servant leadership that employees, whether engaged or not, will come to expect that a leader is there to create perfect conditions for performance. This nurtures entitlement. Perfect conditions are not always possible. While in conscious leadership, there is the acknowledgement that people perform better when they are supported, they are not supported at the cost of the customer, the growth that will lead to sustainable success, nor the environment. Instead, they lay out the short and long-term potential impacts of change to all potential populations with the input of subject matter experts. Then, they involve the most engaged people on their teams to devise a plan to do the most amount of good while causing the least amount of harm.

“But wait,” you say, “That’s not inclusive of disengaged employees, and how do you decide fairly who is engaged and who isn’t?”

You’re right! That’s why engagement framework comes along with the conscious leadership blueprint. It borrows from traditional engagement surveys, but it is determined by more than just an individual’s perception of his/her own engagement, which can be misrepresented. It includes, but is not exclusively determined by, how well employees meet KPIs. It also incorporates how well this person has aligned with the company’s mission, vision, and values as exhibited by their actions and multi-dimensional feedback. People are not penalized for being on a static track versus a growth track. People can still be engaged in their jobs while they allocate extra focus to other areas of their lives besides work. At times, it’s necessary.

In conscious leadership, leaders invest time in understanding, communicating, and learning how to circumnavigate or achieve their own areas of development. This brings the leader to a human, relatable level with his or her team(s) and demonstrates that being imperfect is okay. It encourages self-reflection as well as openness and honesty. How much of a servant can a leader be, after all, if they remain blind to the real challenges of team members?

Servant leaders are still susceptible to situational greed. It works like this: A leader does good and as a byproduct receives recognition, accolades, and compliments. This releases a flood of feel-good hormones and the brain says, “I want more!” So, with positive reinforcement, the leader continues to do good and continues to be praised. Also, keep in mind that with attention, accolades, praise, and prestige often come lucrative opportunities and chances to integrate with movers and shakers, which makes doing good even more intoxicating.

Now, the leader falls prey to someone promoting a high-prestige program as good that will get the leader even more accolades than before! At some point, the brain switches the motivation to do good from doing good to receiving accolades. This leader is essentially duped by an ill-intentioned leader preying upon this leader’s desire to do good. It turns out that the program was not good or mostly good. In fact, it hurt people. The leader failed to examine all facets of the program and perform conscious due diligence because he or she wanted the praise more than the reality that this program had major flaws and should not have happened.

This leader was a servant leader throughout this scenario – encouraging and supporting the team, giving others credit, doing everything possible to create conducive conditions to top performance. Yet, this leader was not a conscious leader.

A conscious leader would have used a conscious decision protocol to explore all of the known potential short-term and long-term impacts and, even at the risk of making an unpopular decision, would have led a team in deciding that the risk was not worth the reward. Personal gain would have been eliminated from the equation through a self-check that helps leaders recognize when they are operating from ego and switch to the higher self.

A conscious leader also recognizes value systems, belief systems, and methods without discrediting or disregarding other perceptions. That is not to say that a conscious leader has to make all parties happy or even be agreeable to other perspectives. It just means that the impacts on people as they report them are considered valid and are considered – even if in the end, the plan decided on does not accommodate them.

Like all leaders, in a pure definition of a leader as beings someone who creates and develops more leaders, conscious leaders see the development and growth of the team to be the best way to serve the most people and achieve the most good.

If you are interested in learning more about the Conscious Leader Blueprint for Leaders or the Consciousness Ripple Formula for Aspiring Leaders, join my new Raising Corporate Consciousness Facebook group. If you are a conscious leader looking to spread awareness of conscious corporate practices and discuss the challenges of widespread adoption, I invite you to join my new LinkedIn group, the Conscious Leadership Connection.

Stevie Wonder – Higher Ground

1973 – Innervisions Many thanks to ClosedCaptionIt for the captions! If you’re interested in captioning your own videos or someone else’s check out http://ww…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

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

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

When Keeping It Real at Work Goes Wrong

Authenticity is quickly emerging as a top desired quality of conscious leaders in 2020 and beyond. In particular, a leader who can be vulnerable, honest about flaws, accountable for mistakes, and commit to positive change with believable conviction is highly prone to inspiring today’s and tomorrow’s workforce to follow him or her.

Any strength, however, can also be a liability if it’s not balanced by consciousness. An unconscious leader is not self-aware enough to distinguish truth (data, facts) from story (opinion, perception, bias.)

When decisions are made from this place, the ego fights to maintain control, and will staunchly produce confirmation bias. Science has proven that we are all prone to confirmation bias. Self-awareness is like a muscle that can be developed and strengthened over time with practice. Just like any other skill, we can form better habits around self-awareness. It can become something we do automatically as we become unconsciously competent.

Over 15 years ago, Dave Chappell demonstrated the drawbacks to “keeping it real,” and how people sometimes justify outrage, verbal assaults, or even physical assault. In the end, they lose.

Nowadays, with social media even more commonplace, “keyboard warriors” and “trolls” have emerged. We also have the term “snowflakes” to describe those who express an emotional response, take things personally, or voice an opposing opinion with passion.

We have more venues for communication than ever before, and different preferences around communication. Consequently, there’s more than one way people want to be shown respect.

It’s confusing to have so many people trying to influence if, when, and/or how it’s acceptable to express emotions. On top of that, people have an opinion about whether your emotional response is right or wrong. Civil discourse has disintegrated into name-calling and divisiveness that appears to be beyond bridging.

A new generation is entering the workforce with the highest rates of mental illness of any generation. Is this what is causing this?

Way back in Interpersonal Communications, a course I had as a communications major, we learned a very simple method to have effective conversations with people. It started with active listening – listening for comprehension, not reply.

And then, to ensure comprehension, because so much can be subjectively translated based on one’s personal experiences and perceptions, to repeat back to the person your understanding/translation of what they just said. Then asking for clarification, reflecting, and thoughtfully responding.

It seemed then like just a helpful guide for having clear communications, which is VERY easy to NOT do and results in unnecessary stress, conflict, divisiveness, and unharmonious collaboration that stifles progress and wellness.

After years of studying other disciplines that also impact communication, such as neuroscience, the reflection part of this is where there is a development gap, and thankfully mindfulness is coming along to fill that gap.

It’s a busier world now. Unless leaders are consciously making time for conscious reflection. They are prone to making decisions from bias, perception, and opinion. There’s also a need to make sure that future leaders are supported in developing these habits by being able to take regular brain fatigue breaks throughout the day and work reasonable hours. Time off is also important so that people have the ability to travel, to see things from a different perspective, and to turn off the problems and stress of work for periods of time.

Another communication gap is words, or at least, it would seem that it’s words that directly cause a response. Actually, it’s the mindset from which the words originate.

I read a short, but highly impactful book many years ago called Change Your Words; Change Your World by Andrea Gardner. It advised bathing words in your mouth with love before they leave your lips.

Your ego is always trying to convince you that you’re right and others are wrong. Your higher self will favor understanding over judgment.

No one likes feeling judged or being judged. Any hint of judgment in your words can backfire in harmful ways, the least of which is resistance – the opposite outcome you desire.

Make sure you are not insinuating someone is wrong when that is really just your opinion.

Ask yourself if your words are kind, honest, and necessary.

If so, consult with your highest self. “Taste” the words you intend to use. Do they drip with love?

Your ego is real but does not always see the truth. Your highest self is real and sees profound truth. If you’re going to keep it real at work, stay in alignment with your highest self, not your ego. The more you do this, the more automatic it will become. The more automatic it becomes, the more influential and authentic you will grow as a leader.

Fugees – Killing Me Softly With His Song (Official Video)

Fugees’ official music video for ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song’. Click to listen to the Fugees on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/TFSpot?IQid=FKMS As featured…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

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

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Is There a Mass Exodus from Corporate America?

Since announcing Epic Careering’s 2020 initiative to raise corporate consciousness, I’ve gotten some interesting, but not very surprising, feedback.

My new effort is being met with a lot of skepticism, which I totally get!

A couple of people cringed at the word “corporate.” How does that word hit you? What comes to mind when you think of “corporate” entities? Are they good things or bad things?

Mostly, what I perceive is resignation. Essentially, all companies these days need to be able to adapt to change quickly. Keeping up with technology, competition, global trends, and customer experience is more important than ever. However, when it comes to truly transformational change, in which the leaders are transparent, communicate proactively, and show genuine concern about their people and the planet, many people feel like it’s all a bunch of lip service intended to pacify the disgruntled, manufacture motivation, and trick new talent into joining the ranks.

I’ve learned, from my own clients over the past 13 years, as well as from candid candidates back when I was working as a recruiter, that many, many people are disillusioned with their jobs and corporate leaders in general. Fortunately, these people are not giving up – yet.

My clients discovered that there were better opportunities available, and there didn’t necessarily need to be a large quantity of them; they just had to improve at qualifying companies and proactively pursuing positions that truly present the potential to thrive. That leads to the serious concern I’m experiencing right now – if I continue helping people land the great jobs, what will be left for the rest?

You may be starting to see that unless transformation comes soon, everyone loses.

I’ve been collecting articles about companies doing wrong and companies doing right for about four years now. I’ve been told countless tales of leaders failing to give talent what it needs to thrive and prosper, such as growth opportunities, training, sponsorship, resources, and ample time for self-care.

Here are some quick stats that I’ve found very interesting:

  • 12% of people who start businesses (2019) did so because they were dissatisfied with corporate America.
  • The workforce participation rate has been declining, and that trend is expected to continue, accounting for a projected 9% decrease from 1998 to 2028.
  • A Korn Ferry study predicts that by 2030, there will be a global talent shortage of 85 million people, at an estimated cost of $8.5 trillion. In the US, the tech industry alone “could lose out on $162 billion worth of revenues annually unless it finds more high-tech workers”, in addition to losing out on $500 billion due to anticipated disengagement in all markets.

A staggering 79% of independent contractors prefer working for themselves as opposed to working as a full-time employee. Unfortunately, the success rate for 1st-time entrepreneurs sits at about 18%, which works in corporate America’s favor because it means that some of the talent leaving may eventually return, or be more favorable to acting as a consultant. So, what happens when a company needs more ongoing, stable presence and leadership? And if those returning to corporate America from nontraditional roles are the answer, how many companies may disqualify this talent simply for not having been in the corporate game recently?

The generation entering the workforce actually values stability. I predict that it won’t be long before this generation is forced to realize that company job security is an enigma; only by learning how to generate opportunity do they actually stand to gain true security. They’ve witnessed it when their parents, who did everything right, still found themselves financially strapped and perhaps even unemployed. They’re being forced into the gig economy because of the number of jobs being outsourced to freelancers or firms.

Corporate America has little time to keep this new generation from becoming just as disillusioned. This doesn’t mean delaying or resisting automation, but completely revamping and figuring out how to offer opportunities to do more meaningful work under more enjoyable conditions.

So, while the data doesn’t reflect a mass exodus of talent from corporate America just yet, the problems that already exist are predicted to get much worse. Raising corporate consciousness is the solution.

Do you want to be part of the solution? Join the LinkedIn group.

Want to keep up with who is moving toward, or away from, corporate consciousness? Join the Facebook group.

Bob Marley – Exodus [HQ Sound]

Bob Marley in Exodus. Enjoy!

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

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

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

The Dangers of the “Average of 5” Rule

I have learned profound wisdom from Jim Rohn, but one thing he taught, which many other coaches echo, is that we are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time. The advice around this is to surround yourself with people who already have aspects of the life that you want for yourself to elevate your station in life.

One study confirmed that it’s not only the five people closest to you, but also the people who are close to them, and so on. The reason, they identified, was norms. “Your perception of what is… acceptable … and your behavior changes” according to what you see more regularly.

A few dangers could arise from following the “average of 5” rule too strictly. Let’s explore some of them.

On one hand, if you aspire to be a visionary entrepreneur, by all means, seek out opportunities to spend time among visionary entrepreneurs. Spending time with people who have achieved what you aspire to achieve is one great way to keep you motivated, and it serves as a pull rather than a push. It will also most likely shorten your path from current reality to achieving your desired reality if you can learn from them how to overcome challenges, navigate most successfully, and expand your sphere of influence to include people in theirs.

On the other hand, people use this “average of 5” rule to justify cutting poor or unambitious people out of your life. I do agree that, while very hard, it’s important for self-preservation to put distance between you and toxic people in your life – those who seem to intentionally make you feel bad, whether conscious or subconscious. However, we know it happens – some people make it big and forget where they came from. They lose touch with the struggles of everyday people. It’s why self-aware executives participate in the show Undercover Boss. Even if you don’t intend to, you can forget the reality of not having money, status, luxury items and vacations, etc.

Yet another problem is that sometimes people do get left behind, and you can’t make and keep any guarantees.

Sometimes naturally, just as a byproduct of growing and changing your lifestyle, things you once had in common with people shift. You can become people that no longer have the same struggles that originally bonded you. The bonds can weaken and you could become unrelatable to each other. Sometimes ego is in the way of someone else wanting more for you (e.g. why should you get what they don’t have). Other times, people will “punch holes” in your plans because they fear losing you. They fear you changing or they fear being left behind. In another possible scenario, they could genuinely believe that you’re more likely to fail than succeed, which is really a reflection of their norms, and they are trying to “save you” from getting hurt or disappointed.

When people get left behind, the divide can widen. Feelings of hurt can manifest as anger and resentment. One person can turn the rest of your old crew against you.

Now, on the bright side, people can just as easily become more likely to succeed because you do – the same way you are more likely to smoke or gain weight along with those closest to you. So it stands to reason that if you intend to follow this advice, and cut out or intentionally distance yourself from these people who are below your measure of achievement, then their chances of being positively impacted by your success is much less.

Another danger is falling into a new crowd that may elevate your pay or status, but denigrate your core values. If you are not mindful of keeping your norms aligned with your values, you may start to lose touch with your values and act in ways that start to seem acceptable, because more of your close contacts act in those ways, even if they are in direct conflict to what you had decided individually were your values. Think about the celebrity college scandal. Even in that illegal situation, one person allegedly involved couldn’t see what was wrong with it – everyone was doing it.

Still more dangerous is this “go get yours,” “rugged individualism,” “drop the baggage holding you down” mentality.  While we are fighting as a nation about how to deal with mass shootings, seeing how we put controls on guns without taking away freedoms, and knowing that mental illnesses are on the rise and also contribute. What to do about this seems to escape us, except to try to strip away the stigma so that we can get that conversation going. Leaving people behind can also be dangerous.

There is another way to look at this. As per my last blog about raising corporate consciousness, just as people can elevate so much further in income and status and become removed from their poorer or less ambitious connections, people can also evolve too far in consciousness and lose touch.

Not all of us will be monks or spiritual gurus and live a life detached from material things altogether. It seems so far fetched. Most of us will not risk our 9-5 jobs, healthcare, etc. to chase butterflies, so to speak. However, some people have found ways to live in which their lifestyles are provided for as a result of imparting their wisdom to a following or tribe. Though the average everyday person* can certainly glean wisdom from these teachers, there is too much dissonance from the current reality of a guru to the current reality of an everyday person for a guru to serve as a true model.

* Let’s define the everyday person as someone who works for someone else to generate their income, carries some debt, follows a budget out of necessity, and would need a loan for very large purchases. This person may have religious beliefs but is not necessarily living according to them at all moments. Life is challenging, and sometimes also very time-consuming. So much so that self-care, self-reflection, and spiritual practices are sacrificed.

We need people at various levels in the middle to serve as ladders, to stay relatable and somewhat in resonance with the lower levels to inspire them to elevate.

So, if you’ve heard this advice and it felt wrong to assess your friends and family’s worthiness of being close to you, honor those feelings. Do bring new people into your sphere of influence to help you elevate, but keep your hand outreached to those below. Not everyone will be willing to take your hand, especially if your rise has been less than gracious. However, work with the willing, and, based on the science backing up the “average of 5” rule, gradually more and more will elevate at their own pace.

Pearl Jam – You Are

Pearl Jam – “You Are” (Riot Act Album) unoficial video clip

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

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

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Why NOW Is The Time To Raise Corporate Consciousness

Until recently, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a doomsday clock! Apparently, it has been ticking down by various increments since 2012, with this last move signaling the closest to midnight, aka doomsday, it’s ever been.

This time, reasons include “nuclear threats, climate change, bioterrorism, and artificial intelligence.”

These are seemingly scary times for the planet and all the people on it. Logically, we know that change is inevitable, but does that mean we should resign and accept doom as our fate? Or, does it mean that at any given moment, we can correct the course? The clock has been moved back several times since its inception, so I’d say there’s hope.

There’s more than one reason to act now.

Last weekend, a legend died at age 41. He perished along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gigi, and sadly 7 other souls with plenty of life to live. Kobe got to enjoy a career that eclipsed so many others in a competitive, high profile field. His daughter, however, was just beginning to rise. Kobe left a legacy, but Gigi hadn’t yet gotten her chance, though it seems she was well on her way. It’s hard to ignore the impact Kobe had on so many people – from professional sports to entertainment, to presidents. But a legacy doesn’t have to be as epic as Kobe’s. Just by impacting a few leaders who go on to impact other leaders, you, too, can have a living legacy that lasts as long as the human race. More importantly, your legacy and impact on leaders can be what keeps us here longer.

How is that?

Money, fame, attention, special favors, accolades, luxury, power…it’s all addictive.

You get a taste, your brain recognizes that it feels good, and it sends you cravings for more. If this goes unchecked, it makes decisions for you automatically. If anyone (or anything) tries to threaten this craving, it will lead you to do whatever it takes to end the threat and get your fix.

A more hurried pace of life these days makes it harder to reflect, so it goes unchecked far more often. Pretty soon, you have epidemic-proportions of material/behavioral addictions.

According to Healthline: “An addiction is a chronic dysfunction of the brain system that involves reward, motivation, and memory. It’s about the way your body craves a substance or behavior, especially if it causes a compulsive or obsessive pursuit of “reward” and lack of concern over consequences.

Someone experiencing an addiction will:

  • be unable to stay away from the substance or stop the addictive behavior
  • display a lack of self-control
  • have an increased desire for the substance or behavior
  • dismiss how their behavior may be causing problems
  • lack an emotional response”

I have written before about situational greed.

Situational greed is when you are never satisfied. There’s no amount you can have and be happy; there’s no peace – there’s just an insatiable need to obtain more and more.

It’s a trap. It’s running the show, but it won’t let you see it for what it is, because then you are a threat to it!

What if all we had to do was get the people inside the trap who have amassed tremendous power (such as those in corporations who position profit and power over people and our planet) to see the trap for what it is?

How do we do that?

Nothing is guaranteed. Especially not tomorrow.

More and more, however, science proves that deep, lasting transformation is possible and there are simple, yet significant ways to lower resistance and lubricate change, all right inside of us.

We might not be able to relieve the worst cases of situational greed. However, if we have enough people in positions of leadership that are conscious, power can be redistributed to where it will do the highest good.

So, how can you make sure that as you grow in success, compensation, accolades, status, and decision-making power that you keep situational greed at bay?

You might not consider yourself susceptible, but if you are human, you are.

Napoleon Hill in the Laws of Success recommends having your own personal circle of advisors, a mastermind. Granted, if you surround yourself with people who lean toward power and greed, which is what your addiction would want (constant reinforcement), then this doesn’t work. The mastermind has to agree on a set of standards by which you can compare and measure plans. They can also act as your emergency advice team. The members of this group, as Hill proposes, should be individuals close to you who you know will be frank and honest, while maintaining confidentiality. You may even consider formalizing an agreement.

We have created a framework and platform through which conscious leaders can connect to other conscious leaders.

If you’d like to join a Consciousness Mastermind, we welcome you to fill out our online application and allow us to match you with compatible conscious leaders who follow our framework. This will allow you to test ideas and share triumphs and trials for an accelerated conscious evolution needed at this critical time in our history.

Starting a meditation, yoga, journaling or mindfulness practice will enhance your self-awareness. Reflective thinking switches our brain from our ego. Making this a habit is a challenge for a busy leader. But think about how much time you’ll have when you’re not putting out fires from decisions that backfire and poor planning.

If you recognize situational greed or an all-out material/behavioral addiction to any of the above, you can set off an interesting chain of events just by asking really great questions. This can put you in the crosshairs, however. And, of course, everyone has a threshold of tolerance to these kinds of conditions. While you are still enduring it, it can threaten to bring you and your reputation, perhaps even your livelihood, down with it. Be prepared to jump ship if the addiction grips in like a demon holding on for dear life.

On the other hand, if you would rather stay clear of the crossfire, you can either nominate them for conscious training anonymously or recommend to bring in a Corporate Consciousness Consultancy like Epic Careering. They don’t have to know that the purpose is to detox them. I’m certain, actually, that they are experiencing pain from this addiction and they want relief. This pain could be turnover, poor health, stakeholder scuffles, regulatory fees, bad press, lower stock values, class action suits or other litigation, etc.

Symptoms like those are our in – our way of approaching your lower-conscious leaders to open the door. Then, we can use science-based business cases to demonstrate how our formula can ease their pain.

Will this work for all greed-afflicted leaders?

No. Just like with any addiction, there’s no guarantee of recovery. We will have at least provided value to the willing. What will most likely also be proved is that if the leader stays in power, the company’s success will not be sustainable and a change in employment venue is inevitable whether by choice now or by force later.

If you would like to learn more about consciousness initiatives and/or collaborate with other conscious leaders, or if you’re not sure if NOW is the time to join a mastermind, I invite you to join our new LinkedIn and Facebook groups:

Hope to see you there.

Pearl Jam – Do the Evolution (Official Video)

Check out the official music video for “Do the Evolution” by Pearl Jam Best of Pearl Jam: https://goo.gl/BkNEZB Subscribe here: https://goo.gl/RfhrD2 Music video by Pearl Jam performing Do The Evolution. (C) 1998 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT #PearlJam #DoTheEvolution #Vevo

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

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

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award.